What level of protective is normal for a male who is "just a friend"?

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A very good male friend of mine who I work with, who is about 10 years older and I've know about 3 years, despises my ex-husband because of the way he treated, and continues to treat me. Even more so than most of my lifelong friends. It's to the point that when I read him texts and let him hear the voicemails that my ex sends, he becomes almost irate, and visibly angry. Even our co-worker said it's disproportionate how mad he gets over it. She commented that the situation makes her mad too, but she doesn't take it quite as personal as he seems to.

He and I have hinted around the idea of dating, but he has been dealing with some legitimate personal struggles, and if it were going to develop into something more than a friendship, now it not the time.

Is this a normal level of hatred and protection or is there something more to it?
What level of protective is normal for a male who is "just a friend"?
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