Given Darius Butler’s past, it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to get amped up when the Indianapolis Colts play the New England Patriots in Foxboro this Sunday.
After all, Butler, 28, was drafted by the Patriots in 2009 – and promptly released in 2010.
Sunday is Butler’s opportunity to make a statement, even if he isn’t hell-bent on making one.
“It’s always emotion involved in this game,” the Colts defensive back said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s just about bottling it up and channeling it the right way. The good thing about it is I’ve played these guys already three times since I’ve been here in Indy, so (I was able to get some of) those fresh emotions out of the way. It’s all about playing football.”
It’s also all about overcoming odds, at least for Butler, who signed with the Panthers after getting cut by the Patriots. Butler spent a year in Carolina. Then he was cut again.
What does this mean? It means that two NFL franchises told Butler they had no use for him. And now he’s an indispensable starter on a team one win from playing in a Super Bowl.
“You’re going to be a little more amped up for the game, obviously,” Butler said. “I’ve never played in a game of this magnitude. It’s the biggest game I’ve played in. It’s the furthest I’ve been in the playoffs. But once the ball is kicked off and you’re between the white lines, it just comes down to executing and doing your job. It’s another football game. You don’t want to add all that added pressure and all that added emotion. You kind of want it bottled up and (you want to) treat it as any other game. It’s going to be hard, but that’s the goal right now.”
It appears the third time – or franchise – was a charm for Butler, who has 46 tackles, nine passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this season.
“Once I got an opportunity with these guys,” Butler said, “I just took it and ran with it.”
Now he just needs to help Indy slow down Tom Brady, who had four touchdowns (three pass, one rush) in New England’s 35-31 win over Baltimore last weekend. Had the Ravens not given up a 14-point lead – twice – Indy would be hosting Baltimore this Sunday. Instead, the Colts will play in the cold.
But the prize, if victorious, would be worth it.
“That’s the mountaintop,” Butler said of playing in a Super Bowl. “I haven’t won a championship in my career. I won a Big East title in college, but nothing would compare to winning an AFC championship and going to the Super Bowl and representing the AFC. That would be huge personally and professionally.”
New England is a seven-point favorite, but Butler doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he feels extremely confident that his team can pull out the win, especially after beating the Broncos in Denver last weekend.
“I feel like we’re going to be prepared for anything they throw at us,” Butler said of the Patriots. “I like our chances this week up there.”