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49ers Jets Colts Seahawks in on Malcolm Butler?

Crunch Time is sports gossip column by Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke
49ers, Jets, Colts, Seahawks, in, on, Malcolm Butler
Malcolm Butler is done in New England. Getty Images

If this were the hay day of the Patriots – Jets rivalry (think Parcells and Mangini eras), there is no doubt that Malcolm Butler would be the type of player that would jump to a rival. Given Butler’s beef with the Patriots, he would love to stick it to Bill Belichick two times a year for the next five years if given the opportunity. But this is a new era.

ESPN polled its NFL writers this week and asked, “Where will Malcolm Butler play in 2018?” None of them said the Jets. San Francisco actually garnered the most amount of votes as the Niners have money to spend (even after dishing out the Jimmy Garoppolo deal) and are in need of a cornerback. Tampa Bay, Indy and Seattle were also mentioned as potential landing spots for the former Super Bowl hero.

 

March Sadness

Believe it or not, college basketball used to have legit buzz in this city. During the mid-1990s, UMass and Boston College often made the NCAA tournament, and sometimes even went deep into March. Part of the reason why college hoops is about as popular as high school curling right now in Boston is because of how good the pro sports teams in this town have been for the past 15 years. In the ’90s, the Celtics sucked, the Bruins were blah, the Patriots were good but not great, and the Red Sox were hit or miss. There was less competition back then.

In case you were wondering, UMass and Boston College aren’t making the tournament again this year. UMass is a yucky 12-19 this season, and BC is likely to be bounced in the ACC tournament today.

The East Regional of March Madness will be held at the Garden two weeks from now, so that should be fun. Just don’t expect any locals to be playing.

 

Breath of fresh air at Red Sox camp

A quiet spring training is typically a good sign for a baseball team. Now that the Red Sox have JD Martinez signed, sealed and delivered – Sox camp has been drama-free. Even lightning-rod David Price is saying all the right things these days. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford told Price this week that many believe he is “the most important player” on this year’s Red Sox team.

Price responded with an enthusiastic, “I like it!”

“I feel good right now,” Price told WEEI. “I think I’m ready to have my best year. I just haven’t had two good years here … [This year] I look to go out there and dominate like I know I’m capable of doing, and that’s what I expect to do.”

Yeah, yeah. We all know spring training quotes are the equivalent of Donald Trump talking about all the great things his administration continues to do.

“We’ve done so well, we’re so great, and we’re going to continue to do great!”

But Price actually saying the right thing for once is a step in the right direction. On the surface, it at least seems like he’s happy with the clubhouse under new manager Alex Cora.