Cardinals release Malcolm Butler from reserve/retired list; veteran CB reportedly considering a comeback

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL cornerback Malcolm Butler was officially released from the Arizona Cardinals‘ reserve/retired list on Thursday, less than six months after retiring. Butler, who had reportedly been dealing with a personal situation at the time of his retirement announcement, is considering a comeback, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

Arizona placed Butler — who signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Cardinals last March — on their reserve/retired list just before the start of the 2021 regular season. Butler, who will be 32 years old on March 2, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots before spending three seasons with the Titans. A Pro Bowler in 2015, Butler has 17 career regular season interceptions along with 82 passes defensed. He tallied four interceptions along with a career-high 100 tackles during the 2020 season. 


Butler’s career is largely defined by two Super Bowls. His end zone interception of Russell Wilson in the game’s closing seconds preserved New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. Three years later, he was benched by Bill Belichick for undisclosed reasons for the entirety of the Patriots’ 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. With Butler on the bench, Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles won MVP honors after throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns. 

Butler is now a free agent and can sign with any team, if he indeed wants to resume his career. Instead of waiting until the start of free agency (March 16), teams in need of cornerback help may start reaching out to Butler’s camp about a potential comeback. 

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