BOSTON (CBS) — Malcolm Butler was extremely pleased that his Tennessee Titans beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, but said it was definitely not personal.
He even had a civilized pre and postgame chat with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, the man who benched him in Super Bowl LII nine months ago. Butler said it’s all good between he and Belichick.
“He just told me good luck, keep fighting,’’ Butler said of his conversation with Belichick. “He appreciated the four years that we played together, and I told him the same.’’
Butler admitted that after spending four seasons with him in New England, it was weird to see Belichick lining up on the opposing sideline. His Super Bowl benching didn’t come up when the two got a chance to talk for the first time this season.
“Nah, you know, he’s past that, just like I am,’’ he said. “I’m a Titan now. Titan up, baby.’’
While it was a tumultuous end for Butler in New England, paving the way for him to sign a five-year pact with the Titans in the offseason, he took the high road following Sunday’s victory.
“I wanted to win, but it wasn’t personal,’’ Butler said. “Mr. Kraft, Belichick, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, they showed me nothing but love. No bad blood between Belichick, none of those players, none of those coaches, Mr. Kraft, none of those guys. I’ve got nothing but respect for them.’’
At least one former Patriot now playing for the Titans took the high road after their blowout win. Running back Dion Lewis took a much different path after the victory.
Butler has struggled in his first season in Tennessee and didn’t factor much into Sunday’s outcome. But beating his former team, even if he holds no animosity against them, felt pretty darn good on Sunday.