EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 24, 2007

Want to know about the Pats? Ask Toronto's third base coach

BOSTON - It was April 26, 2003 and the Toronto Blue Jays were in the midst of a Saturday afternoon tilt with the Kansas City Royals.

With the Jays in the field, the team's third base coach, Brian Butterfield, felt somebody slide a piece of paper beside him on the Toronto bench. The note read: "Ty Warren, Texas A&M.;"

"I was very excited about that pick to tell you the truth," Butterfield said before last night's Red Sox-Jays game. "I had more adrenaline flowing the rest of the game because I was pleased with the pick."

The Blue Jays are always the priority when it comes to Butterfield, a Maine native who still lives in Standish during the offseason. He has, after all, been Toronto's third base coach since 2002. But there is one team that runs a close second: the New England Patriots.

For Butterfield, trips into Boston are a treat for many reasons, chief among them is the chance to catch up with his sister, Valerie Reilly of Londonderry, and her two athletic kids, Rachel and Jack, both former Eagle-Tribune All-Stars. But the minute a Boston-area reporter is spotted, his secondary priority comes into play. There is information to be had and opinions to be given.

With the NFL Draft looming this weekend, Butterfield is in his glory.

His home features a television room with two levels of stadium seating, four TV sets, and a conspicuous Tedy Bruschi jersey that every patron has to fist-pound before getting a drink from the refrigerator.

"I want to send out a thanks to all the scribes in this area for doubting Tedy Bruschi," said Butterfield, who wears No. 55 in honor of former Patriot Willie McGinest. "Because of all the doubters, he is going to be more determined than ever. So you tell them, 'Thank you.'"

When it comes to the Patriots - especially during these days leading up to the draft - Butterfield is all business. His passion for pro football was sparked by his friendship with former Patriots coach Bill Parcells, and more recently thanks to his close relationship with the Pats' vice president for player personnel Scott Pioli.

Parcells called him crazy.

"He told me to get a life when he brought in a rookie free agent out Virginia Tech and I knew his height, weight and 40-yard dash time," said Butterfield.

After a long night on the diamond, he has stayed up reviewing tapes of Patriots preseason games. And the coach still takes pride in the fact that years ago he had urged the Pats to take recent acquisitions Sammy Morris and Kelley Washington over the likes of J.R. Redmond and Bethel Johnson.

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