LeRoy Butler’s story is an inspiring and amazing tale, as he spent the early years of his childhood confined him to a wheelchair. As he recovered from his impairments, he got up, and never appeared to stop running. LeRoy was part of a devious secondary for the Florida State Seminoles playing alongside Deion Sanders and high school friend, – runningback Edgar Bennett. He’d replace Sanders in the lineup at cornerback, converting from Safety in 1989. A solid tackler with a good nose for the ball, Butler played well for the Seminoles that year, etching 7 picks and 94 tackles. His 139 return yards that year broke the record set by Sanders, while his 106 yards against Syracuse broke Sanders’ single game mark. LeRoy also spent time returning kicks, displaying his quickness and speed. He was also named first team All-American from both the AP and UPI in 1989. LeRoy finished his college career with 194 total tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 9 interceptions for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Green Bay selected LeRoy with their second round pick of the 1990 draft. Used sparingly his rookie season, Butler still managed 3 picks, 19 tackles, and a forced fumble. That was enough for the coaches to promote him to starter at right cornerback in 1991 and Butler turned in another 3 pick season. As the Packers continued to remake their secondary with the addition of Terrell Buckley in 1992, Butler moved to his native strong safety position. In the meantime the Packers also drafted Butler’s friend Edgar Bennett as well. It’s here that Butler enjoyed the best football of his career and perhaps for any safety in the league. After a quiet ’92, LeRoy in 1993 had his first AP season, with 6 picks and 2 fumble recoveries. It’d be in this season that he’s best remembered for taking a lateral from teammate Reggie White (who was gassed) and ran a fumble 25 yards into the endzone. At the end of the play LeRoy jumped up into the stands, thereby creating what is known today as ‘The Lambeau Leap’. Butler continued to play the next 9 seasons in Green Bay winning Super Bowl XXXI earning AP honors in 1996, 1997, and 1998. During the 1996 season, LeRoy intercepted 2 passes and returned one of them 90 yards for a score against the San Diego Chargers. Butler suffered a separated shoulder during the 2001 season, ending his season after 9 games. Quietly though it also ended his career as during training camp the following season, it was discovered that it didn’t heal properly.
Since then Butler has devoted himself to charitable activities and speaking engagements. A member of the NFL’s All-1990s team, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, and the first defensive back to earn 20-20 club honors, the hope is as more defensive backs finally get some recognition from the NFL HoF, Butler will also get the honor he’s long deserved.
G/Gs 181/165 Tac 721 Sac 20.5 Fum 13 Int 38 Yds 533 Avg Td 1 Lg 90t