Patriots' Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler benched due to weed and women, former teammate says

New England Patriots cornerback and onetime Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler didn't play Sunday night in the team’s loss against the Philadelphia Eagles due to team violations involving women and weed, a former teammate said.

Butler, who played in nearly 98 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps during the season, was shockingly benched during the Patriots' Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles for what was initially reported as a “perfect storm of issues.”

According to NFL.com, Butler sat because of a sickness he was battling, a tough week of practice leading up to the Super Bowl and a minor team violation.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick defended his decision to reporters after the game, but on Monday acknowledged it was a more complicated issue.

“I appreciate the question, but it would be a much longer discussion,” Belichick said, according to ESPN. “There are a lot of things that go into that. In the end, the final decision is what I said it was.”

Butler was clearly upset after the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“They gave up on me. F---. 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.”

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) during the second half of the NFL football Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, Ariz. Butler's interception at the goal line that turned what looked like a likely Seattle repeat title into the fourth championship for Tom Brady and the Patriots three years ago might be the most impactful play of any kind in the Super Bowl when it comes to determining the champion. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Malcolm Butler's interception in Super Bowl 49 sealed the game for the Patriots.  (AP)

Butler's former teammate on the Patriots, Brandon Browner, took to Instagram to defend him, writing "he not the first to get caught with weed. ... Curfew also meant we are not allowed to have guest especially women."

He also said the Patriots are a team with players who are given "second chances" — but only for those who are "favorites" of Belichick.

"I ain't gonna say no names. Like every job, there's always favorites, you feel me, and lil' bro wasn't a favorite," he said.

He also slammed the decision on Sunday in another Instagram post, saying: "A locker room was divided pre game, most yds ever given in up in a SB game, and your best defender over the past 3 seasons. Doesn’t get a snap. You where hurt/burnt where he was needed tonight.. #foolishpride."

Browner, in another post, said, "Players play and Coaches are supposed to Coach, Bill was out coached for not letting his players play."

Butler became a staple in the Patriots’ secondary after he made the game-ending interception against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Since then, he’s played in every regular season game for the Patriots, recording eight interceptions and 190 tackles.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.