Former Cardinals CB reveals why he shockingly retired in 2021

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Malcolm Butler
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Malcolm Butler /

Current New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler shared why he decided to retire and not play for the Arizona Cardinals last season.

After spending his first seven years in the NFL as a member of the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans, veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler decided to sign with the Arizona Cardinals during the 2021 offseason.

However, Butler wound up retiring before he even stepped on the field for a regular-season game in a Cardinals uniform. The veteran corner reportedly decided to hang up his cleats last year due to a “personal situation” according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo.

Butler had a change of heart this offseason though. Arizona released the cornerback from his contract in February, and then in March, he signed a two-year deal worth $9 million to re-join the Patriots.

New England Patriots CB Malcolm Butler explains why he didn’t play for Arizona Cardinals in 2021

Butler recently answered some questions in a Zoom video call with members of the local New England media and he was asked about how he came to the decision to retire when he was in Arizona last year.

Here’s what the veteran corner had to say.

"“[Bill] Belichick always says ‘do what’s best for the team’ and at that time, I think I did what was best for me and my family. If you’re not prepared mentally, you can’t do nothing physically. So I think I made the right decision by doing that.”"

People can draw their own conclusions from Butler‘s comments, but it seems like he revealed that he just wasn’t in the right state of mind to play football in 2021.

Football is certainly not a sport for one to not have their focus on what is going on out on the field. One small misstep could result in a serious injury, and if Butler felt that he wasn’t prepared enough mentally last year, then he made the right decision to step away from the game.

While some Cardinals fans might view his comments as an excuse to get out of Arizona, it’s important to remember that we don’t know everything that players in the league are dealing with off of the field.

What’s done is done and Butler’s tenure with the Cardinals just didn’t end up working out. He’s with the Patriots now and Arizona’s focus is on developing their talented, young cornerback group that has the potential to perform at a very high-level next season.

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