The former Super Bowl MVP learned of his benching before Sunday's kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. The Patriots called the benching a "coach's decision."
But after the game, Butler elaborated.
"They gave up on me. [Expletive]. It is what it is," Butler said, according to ESPN. "I don't know what it was. I guess I wasn't playing good or they didn't feel comfortable. I don't know. But I could have changed that game."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the game that the decision wasn't for disciplinary reasons. Butler was dealing with an illness earlier in the week. He told reporters Wednesday that the team sent a plane to pick him up because he didn't fly with the team.
"We put the best -- the players out there and the game plan out there that we thought would be the best tonight like we always do," Belichick said, according to NFL.com.
Here was Malcolm Butler on that LeGarette Blount touchdown. He hasn’t played a snap yet tonight. pic.twitter.com/WoMUqcE5pG— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) February 5, 2018
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia also sidestepped the question about Butler not playing.
"We were just trying to put everybody in the right spot to make plays," Patricia told reporters.
"We needed enough guys active for the game to be able to play and whatever situation that came up, if he was called on he was ready to play in those packages if that situation arrived."
Butler, 27, is a free agent this offseason. The 2015 Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion started 15 games this season for New England.