Tom Brady praises Malcolm Butler following statement about Super Bowl LII benching

"You are an incredible player and teammate and friend."

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks to the media after losing 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Tom Brady speaks to the media after losing Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium. –Larry Busacca / Getty Images

Tom Brady appears to be backing up Malcolm Butler after the Patriots cornerback spoke out for the first time about his Super Bowl LII benching and time with the team Tuesday afternoon.

Brady was among a number of current and former Patriots players who liked Butler’s post on Instagram. However, the star Patriots quarterback also posted a supportive comment from his own verified Instagram account.

“Love you Malcolm,” he wrote. “You are an incredible player and teammate and friend. Always!!!!!!”

In his statement Tuesday, Butler denied reports that he missed curfew or engaged in any “ridiculous activities” during Super Bowl week, for which some reports have attributed the decision for his puzzling benching in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. The 24-year-old, who will be a free agent this offseason, also thanked the Patriots organization for the opportunity to be a part of four successful seasons with the team.

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Brady was among the six Patriots team captains who were reportedly aware before the game that Butler would be sidelined, though it’s unclear at what point they were informed of the still yet-to-be-explained decision.

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