Darius Butler knows Patriots well

Nickel cornerback started his career in New England, so nobody is more familiar with Sunday night's visitor.

Darius Butler has the utmost respect for New England coach Bill Belichick and has witnessed quarterback Tom Brady’s quick release on a daily basis at practice.

The Indianapolis Colts’ nickel cornerback started his NFL career with the Patriots as a second-round draft selection in 2009. He played in 29 games, eight of them starts, then was cut after two seasons.

After a season with Carolina, he joined the Colts in 2012. Like many of his Indianapolis teammates, Sunday night’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium will be his third against the Patriots in the past three seasons.

Does knowing the opponent give him any kind of edge?

“It does from a sense of just knowing Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for when it comes to attention to detail and game-planning,” Butler said. “So you know they’re going to have a specific game plan for us on how to attack us and we’ve got to be on our Ps and Qs and be up to the challenge.

“It’s going to be a big challenge. You learn from your past, you learn from your experiences. It’s tough to win up in Foxborough (Mass.). We’ve got ‘em on our home turf and we like our chances at Lucas Oil.”

The Patriots have won the last four meetings, all at Foxborough, including 43-22 in the AFC Divisional playoffs last January.

Butler has found a home in Indy. He’s returned three of his eight interceptions for touchdowns the past two seasons in addition to making 82 tackles, defending 22 passes, recovering two fumbles and forcing one.

This season, he has 26 tackles, four passes defended, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. He missed two games with a sprained ankle.

Butler is joined in the secondary by another former Patriot in safety Sergio Brown, who has started the last five games. Brown was undrafted out of Notre Dame and signed with New England, where he played 26 games with three starts in 2010 and 2011 before he was cut.

The Colts also have a Patriots fan favorite in kicker Adam Vinatieri, who decided two Super Bowls with game-winning field goals in 10 seasons with New England. At 41, the NFL’s oldest player is in his ninth year with the Colts and has been perfect this season on 20 field goals.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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