Piece on Malcolm Butler was incomplete

The piece I wrote Thursday morning on Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was unfortunately incomplete.

I was trying to explain how we got to this point, and in doing so, phrased things in a way that led to more questions than answers.

After hearing from many readers on Twitter, and speaking with colleagues whose opinions I respect, I wanted to take a moment to explain it here.

Many wondered why I referenced marital status. In reading it back, I can see why. It was awkward.

What possible difference would Butler’s martial status have on the Patriots keeping him around? I never answered that.

Here is the point I was striving to make: The Patriots covet players who don’t have a lot of off-field variables. For instance, one of the things they liked about 2015 first-round draft choice Malcom Brown, who was married with two children when he entered the NFL, was that he was considered mature beyond his years. Vince Wilfork, too.

I’m not saying that a player who isn’t married is undependable, only that, chances are, the player with a wife and kids will have a more predictable day-to-day life and is more settled than a single person. Generally speaking. There are, of course, exceptions.

There is a feeling in town that players who are poised to leave the Patriots are sometimes unfairly maligned. While that was not my intention with Butler, I realize in hindsight how it sounded.

I apologize to Butler for the tone.

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