Dammit all. Sometimes a story is just too perfect to be real. And the one where Malcolm Butler comes back to New England and regains his former glory is one of them.
It was all laid out for him. The screenplay was written. It just needed a final act. And obscure, overlooked nobody from West Alabama is the instant author of the most significant play in NFL history. One that rekindles one dynasty, while simultaneously killing another in its infancy. But rather than become a One Hit Wonder and live off that moment forever. Butler becomes one of the best in the business at his position. And yet, it ends terribly. In public humiliation. For reasons that remain a mystery to this day. He leaves under a heavy cloud of unresolved controversy. He leaves to cash in elsewhere. He struggles at times. Then retires. Then unretires. Only to return to the very team where he made history, both glorious (the interception in Super Bowl XLIX) and inglorious (the benching in Super Bowl LII).
If this were just a story, it would end in triumph. Butler's third act in Foxboro would be one where he recaptures the supreme magic of his early days. Locking down opponent's WR1s, winning games, being celebrated by Patriots fans, and making the secondary he anchored great again.
Unfortunately, real life rarely makes stories that good. And in this reality, Butler had been practicing with the bottom of the depth chart guys, was still laboring late into the Giants preseason game, the only legend still on the field.
And now, his 2022 is over. If not his career. Again. Placed on injured reserve with an injury that right now we know as much about as we do his benching against the Eagles. So much of this one particular player's career has been shrouded in a fog of mystery. And until more information comes in, this development is one of them.
Hopefully, this is not the end of the road for him, just another detour. Of many. I want to believe there's still another history making interception or two in him. But right now it feels like a fool's hope. If this is it, if Malcolm Butler's story ends here, at least we can take comfort in the fact he ended on good terms with the team that made him a legend, and which owes him such a debt of eternal gratitude.
So rest up, Malcolm Go. Rehab. Get back to 100%. And we'll be crossing all crossable parts we'll see you in Training Camp 2023. That would be an ending befitting your legend.