FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Malcolm Butler understands what’s at stake.

The next time the cornerback wears a Patriots uniform might be the final time.

“Yeah, it crossed my mind,” Butler said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “But you know what, man, the only thing that matters is doing whatever I can to help the team win this last game of the season. This is the biggest game of the season. I’ve got to put all (the contract ramifications) in the drawer. That’s not important right now. Over the years, I learned that it isn’t always about you. It’s about the team. Whatever is best for the team, I’ve got to do. (The contract) is not even important right now. I just want to win this championship. Just got to win, man.”

Butler’s ride has been epic. He came off the bench to seal Super Bowl XLIX with an interception at the goal line, capping a rookie season in which he was largely an afterthought on a cornerback depth chart that featured Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan.

Now, for the third time in four years, Butler is back in the Super Bowl. He made a name for himself on this stage and added to his resume in the years since the Pats signed him as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama.

“I get to reflect on a lot,” Butler said. “I came from the bottom to the top. Sometimes you forget how it started, but you live and you learn and you keep it moving. I’ve just been so blessed to be part of this organization – three Super Bowls, an AFC championship game every year I’ve been here. I’ve done a whole lot in a four-year span. It’s kind of crazy, man. Just thinking about it, I’ve probably got a lot more rings than a whole lot of people. It’s a blessing. I’m honored. I play for a great organization, a great dynasty, and we’re looking forward to keeping it rolling.

“We want this one. We want it bad. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be tough, but we’re up to the task.”

Butler experienced highs and lows along the way. He stood out in camp as a rookie to make the team in 2014 but was seldom used until he robbed the Seahawks of their Super Bowl jewelry. Tom Brady then gave him his Super Bowl MVP truck, and Butler was honored with a parade in his hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“When I made that play, I lived on it for a little bit, but once my 2015 season started, I really buried it,” Butler said. “I hardly ever go back and try to watch it because I want more.”

And when the Patriots opted out of the Revis bidding war with the Jets, they cited Butler as a reason, though the 2015 offseason also featured a two-week benching at spring workouts due to a missed flight. Butler turned heads during his season-opening showdown with Steelers superstar Antonio Brown and became a Pro Bowler in his first season as the starter.

Butler was even better in 2016, a true lockdown corner over the final two months as the Pats marched toward a Super Bowl LI victory against the Falcons. However, the 2017 offseason was rocky. Stephon Gilmore landed the contract that Butler coveted, which led to restricted free agency, where the Saints offered him more than $50 million before pulling the plug on trade talks with the Patriots.

Butler’s performance this season has been all over the place. He was demoted in Week 2 but rose up in Week 3 to shut down Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins. He also shut out the Jets in Week 17 but gave up a pair of touchdowns to Titans rookie Corey Davis in the divisional round victory.

The consistency wasn’t there, though teammates appreciated the way he stabilized the cornerbacks. He played a team-high 97.8 percent of the defensive snaps, which was crucial when Gilmore missed three games with a concussion and Eric Rowe’s torn groin cost him two months. All the while, Butler went one-on-one with his assignments, and the safeties weren’t concerned with his side of the field. He competed, and they’ve loved that about him.

Maybe this is Butler’s last shot, not because he and the Patriots want to part ways, but because the economics don’t always work out. For Butler, these two weeks aren’t about the bargaining table. It’s about the Super Bowl. The Lombardi Trophy is unapologetic to anything beyond the scoreboard, and Butler learned that the night he became a household name.

“All the hype, all that stuff doesn’t matter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It most definitely doesn’t matter who you are. I’m a true definition of that. What role you’re in, how many years you’ve been in the league, how many rings, none of that means anything. It’s all about executing on Super Bowl Sunday. You’ve got to be prepared for a battle no matter what.”