Malcolm Butler won't make his return to football after all.
The New England Patriots placed the veteran cornerback on the season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday. Butler was attempting to come back to football after sitting out last season.
Butler played in the Patriots' preseason opener against the New York Giants last week, but hasn't been seen at training camp this week. Butler started the preseason opener at cornerback and played 23 defensive snaps and finished with a tackle and fumble recovery.
A feel-good story, Butler signed with the Patriots this offseason after playing for the Tennessee Titans from 2018-2020. The Super Bowl hero from the 2014 season returned to Foxborough after being benched for Super Bowl LII. Butler was hoping to make an impact on a Patriots defense that lost Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson.
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It's never easy for a player to return to football after sitting out a year. Butler struggled at times in camp this summer. It seemed like he was behind outside cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones and Terrance Mitchell. On top of that, cornerback Shaun Wade has had a strong summer and the Pats have young slot cornerbacks Myles Bryant and Marcus Jones. There's also rookie Jack Jones, who adds even more to the depth chart. Butler was potentially on the roster bubble.
The Patriots also placed cornerback Joejuan Williams on the injured reserve and released backup punter Jake Julian on Tuesday.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: New England Patriots place Malcolm Butler on season-ending IR