Erik Scalavino reports Darius Butler sees his role expanding further as he enters his second season in New England.
In his rookie campaign, the 5-10, 185-pound cornerback made significant contributions, both on defense and special teams. He appeared in 14 regular-season games, five of which he started (three at left corner, the other two as a nickel back), and finished the year with 28 solo tackles, three interceptions and eight passes defensed.
"It’s a dream come true to be in the NFL," he remarked. "I’m learning something new every day, every week, every game, going against a lot of the players that I kind of looked up to and watched growing up. That’s been exciting. It’s had its ups and downs, long season, started some games, sat some games. It’s just been an experience."
"As a rookie, you come in and you’re coming straight from the college season, then you got the all-star game, the Combine, the draft, and you kind of get thrown right into it," he explained. "Now I’ve got a professional season to reflect on and be a pro and learn how to study the game and apply it to what I’m doing on the field. I definitely want to build on it. This is my first offseason and I have to work hard and prepare well and build on it."
"I think Darius has learned a lot," Belichick said. "He’s been healthy. He’s gotten a lot of reps, a lot of practice time. I think he’s learned a lot about the game, as a returner, as a defender — both in the passing game and in the running game. He’s got a real good future. I’m glad we have him. I think he’s learned a lot. I think he’s got a lot to learn, but he works hard at it and he’s a smart kid."
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