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Malcolm Butler: 'I knew what was going to happen'

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Before Patriots safety Malcolm Butler carved out his place in both Patriots and Super Bowl lore on Sunday, he looked eternal NFL infamy right in the eyes.

It was Butler who was in coverage on Jermaine Kearse when the Seahawks wide receiver made the juggling catch that appeared to seal the Patriots' fate late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX. If Kearse was about to become the new David Tyree, then Butler would be damned to be the next Rodney Harrison.

"I just went up and deflected it," Butler said shortly after the Patriots' wild 28-24 win. "Nine times out of 10 it usually goes away from him but as I was looking, I saw him bobble it catch it. Which was -- devastating."

Butler altered his own fate two plays later, jumping in front of a Russell Wilson pass intended for Ricardo Lockette and stealing a repeat away from the Seahawks with the shocking interception.

"I knew what was going to happen," said Butler, an undrafted free agent out of Western Alabama who said New England was the only team that gave him a chance to reach the NFL. "I don't know how I knew. I just knew. I just beat him to the point and caught the ball."

Perhaps Butler knew because he had seen the play before. During a scout-team practice, backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo beat Butler on the same play for a touchdown to Josh Boyce.

"We did and Josh got a touchdown in practice on it," Garoppolo confirmed in the Pats locker room. "It got him ready and he knew what to expect. Jumping the route like that, that's very impressive. That's all instincts."

After leaving the field, Butler found himself at a press conference riser surrounded by dozens of media members. I asked him when the enormity of what he accomplishment had set in ... or if it even had.

"I don't think it has yet," he replied, before taking a pause. "I don't -- I don't know."

Everything is about to change for the previously anonymous Malcolm Butler. That would leave you speechless, too.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps Super Bowl XLIX, including Malcolm Butler's game-sealing interception, Tom Brady's legacy and more. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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