FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots placed veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season and comeback attempt with the franchise where he became a Super Bowl hero seven years ago.
Butler, 32, suffered a hip injury, a source said. Butler had started in the Patriots' preseason opener Thursday, playing 23 snaps and recovering a fumble, but had not practiced since.
Butler, who spent 2021 out of football, had signed a two-year contract with the Patriots in March. He was part of a group of players vying to fill the void created by J.C. Jackson's free-agent departure to the Los Angeles Chargers, and was mostly practicing as a backup behind veterans Jalen Mills, Terrance Mitchell and Jonathan Jones.
Butler was the hero of the team's 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. His interception at the goal line in the final minute is one of the iconic plays in franchise and NFL history.
In a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Butler surprisingly didn't play on defense. He went on to play with the Tennessee Titans and never thought he'd eventually land back in New England.
"One thing I learned, you never burn your bridges down. You handle situations as a man, as a grown-up. If I didn't do that, I don't think I would have an opportunity to come back here," he said upon his return.
In addition to Butler, the Patriots placed fourth-year cornerback Joejuan Williams on injured reserve with a right shoulder injury. Williams was a long shot to make the roster.