Malcolm Butler speaks after Sunday Patriots practice. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — A Super Bowl-winning play won’t keep teammates from picking on Malcolm Butler in training camp.
Butler certainly was made aware of that on Sunday, during the second day of full pads training camp practice.
During 11-on-11 drills, Tom Brady lofted a ball deep down the right sideline for Aaron Dobson. The third-year receiver went airborne over Butler and came down with the ball.
“I know I was in good position,” Butler explained. “The sun out here, it’s shining real bright. I kind of lost the ball, too, at the same time. I think he bumped me a little bit but not to take any credit from Dobson, great play. When you have those opportunities, you just have to make them, you just have got to make them.”
Then later, in a red zone drill, Brady fired a seed to Julian Edelman, who was being defended by Butler. The defensive back lost his balance and fell to the ground. Edelman took the ball, went over to the prone Butler, face down. and placed the ball at his feet.
“I knew something was coming. I knew something was coming so I was expecting that,” Butler said of the Edelman gesture. “He didn’t saying anything. I knew it was just competitive and just playing around. But serious at the same time. Shook hands afterward.”
“Yessir,” Butler laughed. “It’s going to get you a lot better. He’s got quick, fast get in and out of his breaks. Also, there are couple of other receivers. It’s not just Julian. We have Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, getting work from all those guys.”
Butler can laugh it off because his preparation is intense.
“I have to come out here and play like my hair is on fire. Just play hard, play hard,” Butler said. “We all are leaders. We’re all supposed to be leaders. If I have to do that, I will. But we know we have Logan Ryan, we’ve got Tarell Brown and a couple of vets on the team that have been here longer than me. I’m pretty sure one of those guys will step up. Actions speak louder than words.
“Just coming out and competing against each every day. He’s going hard and I’m going hard. [But] there’s a couple of other receivers and other cornerbacks out there playing hard, making plays. It’s not just me and Julian. It’s a whole unit. The wide receiver unit, whole cornerback unit, safeties. We’re all out here trying to get better each and every day.”
While Edelman didn’t say anything, such was not the case with Brady.
“It makes us feel that he lets us know he want to come after us and get us better, and at the same time get his players better,” Butler said of Brady’s trash talking. “It’s a unit thing, working together and all getting better at the same time.
“As long as I don’t get [schooled] bad, it can go back and forth but it can’t just keep coming. Have to do something about that.”
The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian noted how Butler has been spotted with tape around his gloves in practice, somewhat like a boxer. The reason? Butler does not want to be called for defensive holding and it reminds him not to grab on.
“Holding, it hurts you. I’m trying to prevent that from happening this season,” Butler said. “It’s just something I suggested. Just wrap my hands up. Not every practice.”
All of the talk about competition makes Butler feel like he’ll be ready for when the bullets are live.
“You’re supposed to be hungry,” Butler said. “The other 31 teams are coming after the champion. You’ve got to be ready because they’re going to be ready for you.”