So ends the saga of Patriots CB Darius Butler. Butler made the following announcement on Twitter:
Its been real New England. I was blessed to have a chance to play and start my NFL career here. But its time to open a new chapter. Thx #patsnation
Butler has most likely been released to make space for tight end Dan Gronkowski.
Butler was drafted in the 41st overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft and was expected to bolster the Patriots' secondary. He was regarded as one of the most athletic defensive backs in the draft, but was unable to put everything together on the football field. Butler was thrust into a starting role towards the end of his rookie season and played well enough to inspire confidence for the following year, but was unable to take the step forward. He was benched after a couple poor outings to start the 2010 season and experienced a free fall to the bottom of the cornerback depth chart.
Butler represented one of the last players of the Patriots' opportunistic defense of the 2006-2008 years and wasn't the right piece for the current defense. His athletic skill set never matched the physicality required of the new-image defense that Bill Belichick has been crafting since the middle of the 2009 season. Butler should find himself on another team very quickly; unfortunately, it won't be the Patriots.
Thank you for your contributions Darius Butler!