Patriots DB coach Josh Boyer finds a hidden treasure in Malcolm Butler

Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk:
Malcolm Butler’s agent, Derek Simpson, told Mike Reiss of that it was looking bleak for Butler even to get an invitation to a rookie minicamp until the Patriots called.

“I’ll never forget it; I was at my dining room table and got a phone call,” Simpson said. “It was Josh Boyer and he said, ‘Is Malcolm still available? I can bring in one player in the country for a tryout and I picked Malcolm. I believe Malcolm can play in the NFL.’ We had to sign a release just to try out, and within one hour after his flight from Jackson, Mississippi, to New England, they had him run a 40 and he did a 4.4. From that point forward, it’s been nothing but incredible.”

Patriots defensive backs coach Josh Boyer must have a crystal ball. He had one opening available for a longshot tryout with no guarantee attached. Josh takes a chance on a Division II cornerback from West Alabama. Malcolm Butler played well in the Medal of Honor Bowl all-star game in Charleston, SC. This was the first time in 150 years that the Medal of Honor society had allowed its name to be used in this fashion. The inaugural one week event had 100 NFL scouts in attendance.

“I remember seeing him every day at practice,” says Austin Atkinson, the deputy director of player personnel for the Medal of Honor Bowl. “Every time he made a play — and he made a lot of them — he’d pound on his chest and yell, ‘Mr. D2! Mr. D2!’ He was so proud of being from a Division II school."

Medal of Honor Bowl coach Chan Gailey recommended Malcolm Butler to New England Patriots' head coach
Bill Belichick. Josh Boyer used his only invitation in May, 2014 on a player who received no signing bonus. Making an interception in the Medal of Honor Bowl was pretty significant.

Christopher Price, WEEI:
“It’s a combination of trying to get everyone to work together. We’re going to ask guys to do different things. We’ll move guys around, ask them to do different techniques, different spots,” Boyer said. “There’s going to be numerous groups of guys in and out. We’ve always got to be ready, because if a guy’s not there, you’ve got to play someone else. We’re going to cover that from different angles.”

New England went with three cornerbacks on the goal line. The Seattle Seahawks misread the alignment, and threw the ball instead of running. Josh Boyer had the "other guy" in there. He is now a household name.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.

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