Patriots release former second-round pick Butler

511292.jpg

Patriots release former second-round pick Butler

By Phil Perry and Jimmy Toscano
CSNNE.com

Darius Butler is no longer a member of the Patriots.

On Tuesday afternoon the third-year corner back tweeted: "Its been real New England. I was blessed to have a chance to play and start my NFL career here. But its time to open a new chapter. Thx patsnation"

Hours later, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reported that the cornerback was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers.

After a productive rookie season in 2009, the second-round pick out of UConn has been a disappointment. In his first year, he made 35 tackles and recorded 3 interceptions. He also defended eight passes.

Last season, he had a chance to step up and have a big role in the Patriots secondary with cornerback Leigh Bodden out for the season but he didn't capitalize on the opportunity. Kyle Arrington, primarily used as a special-teamer at the time, overtook Butler on the depth chart, and Butler was relegated to a bench role.

Coming off the bench, his production went down in every category in 2010 as he finished with just 23 tackles and zero interceptions, and as he told Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, things weren't working out.

It kind of went downhill from there, Butler acknowledged. I never faced that kind of adversity when it came to sports, being benched. I just was not playing up to the level I expected to, and the level the team expected. Not seeing the field as much as last year, that was tough.

The Patriots drafted cornerback Ras-I Dowling in the second round this year, and Bodden is back from last season's shoulder injury. When healthy, Bodden looks like he will be a starter at cornerback opposite Devin McCourty. The Patriots also have cornerbacks Arrington and Antwaun Molden on the roster.

That gave the Patriots options heading into the season.

I didnt know how it would work out, a trade or release," he told ESPNBoston.com. "Im not really surprised by it. Things werent working out with me and the team. Its not really a shocker. You can kind of see the writing on the wall sometimes. It was best for both parties.

If you think this move somehow negates Tom E. Curran's stance that Bill Belichick still knows how to recognize talent, keep in mind: The Patriots also drafted Patrick Chung, Sebastian Vollmer, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace and Julian Edelman in the 2009 draft. Though Chung and Vollmer are the only two surefire starters from that group, all are still with the team.

Butler is the sixth former Patriot claimed off waivers by at least one team since Saturday.

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

RELATED

The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

Josh McDaniels will be staying put in New England, he said on Monday, because that's what's best for him and his family at this point in time. 

RELATED

The Patriots offensive coordinator was a front-runner for the open head-coaching job in San Francisco but has removed his name from consideration.

"I was really impressed with [Niners owner and CEO] Jed York and [Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations] Praag [Marathe] and [Director of Football Administration and Analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the people that came from the 49ers organization. They did a great job with their presentation. Again, humbled to be included in that process.

"At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

Next season will be McDaniels' sixth full season back with the Patriots since returning during the playoffs of the 2011 season.

"I've always said how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work here with Mr. Kraft and his family, and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff, and to have the privilege to get to work with the players that we work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here, and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."