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LeRoy Butler Should Have a Bust in Canton

Earlier this week, former-Gravedigger, Tailgate Tour member and somewhat slimmer, Gilbert Brown, told reporters what some of us, and I imagine some of you, have said for years. LeRoy Butler belongs in the Hall.

And no, not the Hall at 1265 Lombardi, psssst… child, please. No, the Hall at Canton, Ohio. THAT Hall.

The question was prompted by the recent retirement of Troy Polamalu, who certainly will get Hall of Fame consideration even with inferior numbers to Butler.

Besides his 5 selections to the All Pro Team- Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson both had 6- Butler was a first team member of the 1990s All Decade Team, where he paired with Steve Atwater at safety. Butler was arguably the greatest pass rusher to ever play the safety position and was the first defensive back in history to have more than 20 sacks to go with over 20 interceptions.

His final numbers were 181 games, 889 tackles, 38 interceptions, 20.5 sacks. Polamalu’s final numbers in the same categories were 158, 770, 32, and 12.

The fact that Butler and Polamalu both played 12 seasons, and Butler played in 23 more games reflects the fact that Butler was amazingly durable during his career while Polamalu missed significant time due to injuries. At the time of his career ending injury in 2001, Butler had missed 4 games in 11.5 seasons.

In Polamalu’s favor, he played in more Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowls to Butler’s one, and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. He also had much better hair, which is something.

However, Butler also invented the Lambeau Leap, which has been since imitated in about every stadium in the NFL. One could argue Butler deserves consideration just because of that.

Unfortunately, LeRoy Butler does not have a great reputation off the field, which likely has a lot to do with why he has always struggled to find a place in the NFL post-retirement. Just last offseason a report surfaced that Butler was being investigated for not filing tax returns for his charity foundation. Butler has since admitted to being a bad bookkeeper and shut down the foundation. The investigation, as much as there was one, went no where.

Though their situations are different, Butler may find himself in a similar boat with Jerry Kramer. Kramer is probably the most famous Packer to not be in the Hall of Fame, and that also has something to do with his off field reputation. Kramer’s best-selling book, Instant Replay, allegedly violated the then NFL code of what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.

Regardless of the reasons, both Kramer and Butler belong in the NFL Hall of Fame, and maybe the Packers don’t have the representation on the veterans’ committee that they should have. Maybe the fan-base is too complacent or not as vocal as others. Maybe that needs to change. Someone with the Packers’ organization needs to advocate for these guys, and if they aren’t, then the fans, meaning you and me, need to let the organization know that they should be.

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Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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6 Comments

  1. BZ in BA April 17, 2015

    Nice thought, but it’s not going to happen. It is really hard for ANY defensive player to get in there to begin with….

  2. Cheese April 17, 2015

    I’m so sick of hearing about how ridiculously great people think Troy Polamalu is. He’s a good player and a nice guy but damn. It’s like Clay Matthews, good player, but he wouldn’t get anywhere near the credit and attention he does if it wasn’t for his hair. Shit, the year Polamalu won defensive mvp Clay had a better season than him anyway. Just goes to show what a popularity contest the nfl is.

    1. Phatgzus April 17, 2015

      Once again, this ^.

  3. Deepsky April 20, 2015

    Sadly, Nick Collins was on his way to the HOF before he got injured. He had 3 Pro Bowl appearances in only his first 6 years, Butler had 4 Pro Bowls in his entire career (both according to Football Reference). Both had won Super Bowls, and who knows, given Collins playmaking abilities in big games, the he may have had one more.

    1. The Money Mike April 20, 2015

      ^ This…add Sterling Sharpe to that list

  4. Fritz April 23, 2015

    somebody should “out” those guys as gay, just to get the dirtbag nfl to fast track them into the HOF; as we all know, our Dear Leader in the WH would be the first to jump on a soap box in advocacy of same [remember Mr. Sam the Ram?]

    [of course after they got in, the false “outing” could be debunked].