Devin McCourty shares conversation with Malcolm Butler about Super Bowl benching

AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots
AFC Championship - Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

There are a few moments throughout the Patriots 20 years of absolute domination over the NFL that feel like we'll never get answers to, like what really led to Tom Brady's departure in 2020, how Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft's relationship really was behind the scenes before the head coach left last month, and why was Malcolm Butler benched for Super Bowl LII?

Some of those lingering questions will continue to haunt Patriots fans, with the drama surrounding Butler's availability for a devastating Super Bowl loss being near the top of the list.

It seemed clear there was more going on that led to Belichick's decision than just an isolated incident when a player is punished, especially given the circumstances and the importance of winning another Lombardi trophy. But things seemed to get cleared up a few years later when the cornerback signed a contract with the Patriots in 2022, which was believed to be out of contention ever to happen after he signed with the Titans.

Of course, because of his unbelievable return (even if it was short-lived), Butler was questioned about Belichick's controversial decision to keep him out of the Championship game, but he remained coy and kept the conversation positive, stating the two had discussed the matter and moved on.

That may be good and dandy for some people, but many Patriots fans, and even some players, are still trying to figure out what really happened to this day.

What led to Malcolm Butler's benching in Super Bowl LII may remain a secret forever

Although it's hard to imagine, Devin McCourty is still looking for answers, even though he was on the team at the time. He revealed he remains in the dark about the ordeal, and when he asked Butler upon his Patriots return, he didn't provide any answers either.

"He called me when he came back (in 2022) and he was like, 'Hey, Belichick just called me, I might come back.' And I was like, 'Really?' I was like, 'You took a year off, how have you been? But you would really come back here?' And he's like, 'Yeah!' And I was like, 'Yeah, but what's going on? What happened?' And he didn't say anything."

McCourty shared that his continued search for the truth went further over the next year as he tried to get clarity from Brian Flores, the defensive coordinator at the time of the big game.

"The next year, me and Brian Flores, who was the defensive coordinator the next year (after) Matty P (Matt Patricia) leaves, and he goes to me, 'I don't want what happened to Seattle.' ... That team was phenomenal. We beat them in that Super Bowl and that team falls apart.

"He says that to me and I go, 'All right, cool, I agree with you. But what happened? Why didn't (Butler) play? And he goes, 'I don't know.' I've never heard anyone talk about why he didn't play. I don't know."

It's hard to imagine that Belichick and Butler are the only people who know the truth, yet all signs point to that being the case. Or, anyone else who does know isn't willing to share the details now.

McCourty did say that his former teammate has been working on a book, and perhaps the story of that Super Bowl will be discussed in the book, but we'll have to wait and see until then.

Read more from Musket Fire: