AFTER FINISHING HIS college career at Division II West Alabama, Malcolm Butler was earning $7.25 an hour as a fryer at a Popeyes in his hometown of Vicksburg, Miss., when he was signed by the Patriots last May. When he made his game-sealing, goal line interception in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX, his ascent to New England folk hero and Grammy presenter went from improbable to surreal. Here are seven ways the 24-year-old's life has changed:
LL Cool J knows him.
"He introduced himself at the Grammys. I was like, You know who I am? And then Nicki Minaj wanted to pose for a picture."
Jamie Foxx gave up his number.
"I haven't hit him up yet. I don't know when, or if, I will."
He got a stylist.
"It was for the Grammys. She wanted me to wear sneakers. I know that's the style, but I wanted to wear dress shoes."
He got a parade.
"When they asked me, I thought it was crazy. But people in Vicksburg are all so excited, I couldn't say no."
He sat front row at a Celtics game.
"On TV the games always looked real big, but when you're up close, it looks like any old high school game, you know?"
His Popeyes became famous.
"Reporters are calling up my old managers, people pose in front of the sign and put photos on social media. They even had a 21-piece special, in honor of my jersey number."
Tom Brady gave him a car.
"I posed with a red one but asked for a black one," Butler says of the 2015 Chevy pickup Brady won as Super Bowl MVP. "I'm waiting for it to get shipped."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The Rangers signed the younger brother of second baseman Rougned Odor, a shortstop whose name is also Rougned Odor.
WILLIAM WIDMER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BUTLER)
ERICK W. RASCO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ODOR)