NASHVILLE — Malcolm Butler acknowledged it was strange seeing Bill Belichick on Sunday, but it had nothing to do with Super Bowl LII.
“It was kind of weird. I hadn’t seen him in a long time in person!’’ Butler said after the Titans’ 34-10 win over the Patriots on Sunday.
Butler said he caught up with Belichick both before and after Sunday’s game. It was the first time the two had been together since Butler was benched in February’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
Butler said all is good between he and Belichick, and said Sunday’s win was “most definitely not’’ personal.
“He just told me good luck, keep fighting,’’ Butler said of their quick conversation after the game. “He appreciated the four years that we played together, and I told him the same.’’
But Butler didn’t ask Belichick why he didn’t play in the Super Bowl.
“Nah, you know, he’s past that, just like I am,’’ Butler said. “I’m a Titan now. Titan up, baby.’’
Butler said he caught up with several of his former teammates and coaches. He spent four years with the Patriots and won two Super Bowls before signing a five-year deal with the Titans in March.
“I wanted to win [Sunday], but it wasn’t personal,’’ Butler said. “Mr. [Robert] 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.’’
Butler’s first season with the Titans has been rough, as he allowed a league-high seven touchdowns in their first seven games. But he was barely tested on Sunday, with Tom Brady targeting Butler just three times, and completing two passes for 14 yards.
“Maybe they finally thought that I wanted revenge,’’ Butler said. “There was a couple plays they could’ve thrown it, but they didn’t.’’
Butler said Sunday’s win was great for his team, not about settling a personal vendetta with Belichick and the Patriots.
“I’m just so proud of the Tennessee Titans,’’ said Butler, whose team improved to 5-4. “We came right here and won a game no one expected us to win, hands down. Proud of my team and proud to be a part of this team.’’