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Apologies to Adam Butler



Postgame embrace between New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels

Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Adam Butler should have been all smiles after Sunday’s win against the New England Patriots. Butler registered two things in the game that nobody with his former franchise did: a sack and a win. But it was not taking down Mac Jones or the victory that Adam Butler wished to discuss after the game. It was the lack of attention he received from his old boss, Bill Belichick.

Butler was unhappy that after having spent the first four years of his NFL career as a member of the New England Patriots (2017-to-2020) he seemed all but forgotten by his former head coach.

“It did make me very upset that Bill didn’t even have the respect to say anything to me after the game,” Butler said. “Not even congratulate me. Tell me, ‘you look good,’ or, ‘you don’t look good,’ whatever. ‘Kiss my ass,’ something. He didn’t say anything. Kind of felt disrespected, made me feel bad.”

Adam Butler’s time in New England was not insignificant. While Butler is one of 629 players to have played for Bill Belichick in New England, not all of them played 70 games in New England and won a Super Bowl.

It is mere coincidence that Adam Butler is not even the most memorable Patriots player with his surname to play exactly 70 games for Bill Belichick in New England and help the Patriots win a Super Bowl. That distinction belongs to Malcolm Butler.

New England Patriots Malcolm Butler

Malcom Butler (photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Adam Butler was an undrafted free agent who made the New England Patriots roster as a rookie. A good UDFA story is always popular among NFL fans. Butler proved to be tough, sedulous, constantly improving, and reliable. He played in 70 out of a possible 71 games during his time in Foxboro. Not much else Bill Belichick, or any coach, can ask for out of a player.

In his four Patriots seasons Butler recorded 17 sacks, including two during the 2017 playoffs. He played in consecutive Super Bowls his first two years in the NFL. Adam Butler was part of the New England Patriots defense that held the Los Angeles Rams to just three points in a Super Bowl 53 win, making him a Super Bowl champion.

So it was slightly disappointing to hear such a likable and solid former Patriots player choose to focus on Bill Belichick not acknowledging him after Belichick’s team had just fallen to 1-and-5 on the season. There was a video of Bill Belichick walking slowly off the field all by himself. Maybe Butler could have made the first move?

And while Bill Belichick was likely thinking about how his team has only one win in six games, or whether or not he could soon lose his job, do we know if he checked in with any of the other people in silver and black with Patriots ties?

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, a longtime offensive coordinator with the Patriots, gave Belichick a hug after the game. But there are also other former Patriots coaches on the Raiders staff. Did Bill Belichick check in with Las Vegas offensive coordinator Mike Lombardi? How about quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree? Was he able to find time for offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo?

No sign of Raiders GM Dave Ziegler, another former Patriots employee, on the field after the game. Did Belichick go up to his box to congratulate him? Or at least waive in the direction of where Ziegler might have been?

How about all of the other players who, like Adam Butler, played for the Patriots and are now the Raiders?

Quarterback Brian Hoyer came off the bench at halftime and helped secure the Raiders win on Sunday. He began his career with the New England Patriots in 2009. He was with the franchise for eight seasons over three separate stints. Any confirmation on whether or not Belichick acknowledged the 38-year old QB after the Patriots lost?

Running back and special teamer Brandon Bolden always appeared to be one of Belichick’s favorite players in New England. Like Butler and Hoyer, Bolden began his NFL career as a UDFA. Bolden played eight seasons in Foxboro over two separate stints. He won two Super Bowls. What was the postgame interaction between Belichick and Bolden like?

Any word on the amount of respect that Bill Belichick showed to Raiders offensive linemen, and former Patriots, Jermaine Eluemunor and Justin Herron? How about Las Vegas fullback Jakob Johnson, who played for Belichick in New England for his first three seasons?

Raiders WR Jakobi Meyers was posing for pictures with his former teammates after helping hand his former team another loss. Did Bill Belichick disrespect Jakobi Meyers the way he disrespected Adam Butler, by not acknowledging him? Did he at least have the decency to pose for a few photos on the field?  Or was Belichick busy talking to another former Patriots wide receiver now with the Raiders, Kristian Wilkerson?

Maybe Bill Belichick didn’t have time to acknowledge Adam Butler on the field because he was on his way to the hospital. Reports said that former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, now the Raiders starter, had been taken to a local hospital after injuring his back in the first half. Was his old coach planning to pay Garoppolo a visit, therefore leaving no time to break stride for Butler?

Or maybe Bill Belichick was thinking about former New England Patriots star defensive end Chandler Jones, who was recently waived by the Las Vegas after both legal issues and bizarre behavior. In all sincerity, the mental well being of Chandler Jones is far more important than the outcome of any football game.

Adam Butler’s postgame comments seemed incredibly sincere. Unlikely that his goal was to create controversy or generate headlines. In fact, it was refreshing to see a 6-foot-5, 300 pound professional football player admit that he has feelings too.

But Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have more to worry about at the moment than Adam Butler’s feelings. This is something Butler himself acknowledged.

“I know Coach Belichick has bigger things to worry about, obviously. They’re going through a tough time” Butler said. And though he may have understood why Bill Belichick was distracted, it didn’t take his former coach off the hook completely. “I mean, wave, something. But nothing.”

A sack and a victory were not enough to make Adam Butler happy on Sunday. Unfortunately for Bill Belichick there are far bigger fires to put out to make everything okay again in New England.

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