Malcolm Butler – the Super Bowl hero expected to have a bigger role in the retooled New England secondary in 2015 – has been notably absent from the voluntary OTA practices the media has had access to over the last couple weeks.
According to the Boston Herald, that absence is due to the fact that Butler had a flight canceled because of weather issues as he attempted to return to Foxborough last month. The report, citing a team source, indicates that the second-year former undrafted cornerback was late to an OTA session on May 18 and was subsequently held out of three weeks of practices as a result.
The report also says that Butler was expected to return to OTA workouts this week and be on the practice field with the media is once again in attendance on Thursday.
Butler's interception of Russell Wilson clinched New England's fourth Lombardi Trophy as well as a spot for him in both Super Bowl and Boston sports lore.
Now, the West Alabama product could compete for a much larger role in a secondary that lost Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard. Missing three weeks of OTA action doesn't eliminate Butler from competing for a starting job, but it is certainly far from ideal and sends a clear message from Bill Belichick to both the cornerback and the rest of the team.