Free agent cornerback Darius Butler was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday night, according to reports from the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person. The move comes less than a day after the two-year veteran was unexpectedly released by the New England Patriots. He is expected to report to Panthers' practice on Wednesday.
Butler entered the league after being selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft by New England. The 25-year-old made his presence immediately felt, nabbing an interception against the Tennessee Titans in his first career start. He eventually finished a promising rookie season with three picks, 35 tackles, and one touchdown.
Yet Butler soon flamed out with the team after getting off to a rocky start in his sophomore campaign. Benched after the first two games of the season, the cornerback quickly fell out of the secondary rotation and faded to the end of the depth chart. Following a disappointing preseason, New England abruptly released Butler on Tuesday morning. However he exited the franchise in a classy manner, explaining to the Boston Herald how grateful he was for the opportunity.
"It's a business, man," Butler told the Herald. "This is by no means the end. ... I'm excited about my future, really. Get somewhere and make an impact.
"I know (the release) it's not a case of me not being talented or smart enough or anything like that. I know the work ethic I'm going to bring to any other team just like I had here. ... It'll give me a chance to have a new first impression with the coaches and players and just get out there and play. Let my talent take over."
Buter joins a Panthers secondary led by Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn. He's expected to receive significant playing time in the team's nickel and dime packages.
For more on the Carolina Panther's newest cornerback, head over to Cat Scratch Reader.