Alan Branch on Malcolm Butler’s benching: ‘I didn’t know anything’

Alan Branch joined the Patriots in 2014.
Alan Branch joined the Patriots in 2014. –Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch said he was not clued in about Malcolm Butler’s status for Super Bowl LII.

“I didn’t know anything, honestly,” he shared on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley with Keefe” Tuesday. “On our team, gossip doesn’t travel. Let’s just say that.”

Branch told the local radio hosts he wasn’t informed in advance that Butler was not going take a defensive snap against the Eagles — a coaching decision by Bill Belichick that continues to perplex many. Branch’s comments run contrast to those made by safety Devin McCourty, who recently said the team was aware Butler would not be playing for at least part of the game.


“We all knew he wasn’t starting all week,” McCourty told’s Ryan Dunleavy at a fundraiser for his charity, Tackle Sickle Cell, Saturday. “That wasn’t a secret to the guys on the team.”

While he noticed Butler was not in the game, Branch — who was inactive for Super Bowl LII — said the cornerback’s absence wasn’t necessarily alarming.

“You never know the reason for what’s going on at a certain time in that organization, especially,” he explained. “It’s neither here nor there.”

As for when Branch was told he would not be playing in the big game? The two-time Super Bowl champion said he found out a few days before.

According to the 33-year-old, notification about one’s game status can come as early as the Wednesday of the upcoming week or as late as 10 minutes before the legal deadline. Branch was inactive for the entirety of the postseason, but played in 12 regular-season games.


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