LeRoy Butler congratulates another #36 - Nick Collins - after an interception return for a touchdown back in 2009 Raymond T. Rivard photograph

LeRoy Butler: Let the man coach

One of my favorite writers, Paul Imig, the Green Bay Packers beat writer for FOXSportsWisconsin.com, today posted one of the more unique stories of this offseason – a post focusing on one of my all-time favorite Packers players – LeRoy Butler.

We’ve all seen Butler around Lambeau Field; we’ve all seen his Internet videos with Tom Silverstein on JSonline.com … he knows football, he loves football, and as Imig explains in his piece, he wants to coach in the National Football League.

But nobody’s calling … that’s the sad part.

Imig’s interview with Butler is heart-wrenching. His passion for coaching is clear, but nobody is giving him a chance.

Butler was the inventor of the Lambeau Leap.

“It’s a big brother system,” Butler told Imig. “They basically hire their buddies. That’s what they do.” That is the nut of the story. It’s not that he’s being actively blackballed – he just hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself, though he has made calls. He’s got the connections, he knows people in the industry – they tell him they will help, but they haven’t yet and that’s what frustrates Butler.

He’s been in two Super Bowls, winning one. He’s been a Pro-Bowler. He was one of the most athletic of all the players who made up those dynamo Packers teams of the mid- to late 9os. And he knows the game.

At this point, he would coach anywhere and admits that he would be the janitor just to get a chance to coach in the NFL. However, he would really like to coach for the Packers. After all, that’s the team he has been affiliated with for years, the team he won a Super Bowl with – heck, it’s the only team of which he’s ever been a member.

He thought he would have a shot when Mike Sherman was the coach. He thought he would have a shot when Mike McCarthy took over. He also thought he would have a shot at joining on with Miami given that team’s Packers connections with head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

Still nothing.

Imig’s story is an exercise in frustration, but there is hope because Butler isn’t giving up hope.

“I’m not going to give up,” Butler tells Imig. “I don’t think there’s a guy in this world that knows more about safeties than me. I played it, I studied it, I know the dos and don’ts and know what you need to get to the next level, and then how you facilitate it. You have to get these kids the right information so they can perform at a high level.
“In this league, with some of these defenses so putrid, why wouldn’t they want a guy like me on their staff?” Butler’s question seems to have fallen on deaf ears across the league, but I’m glad that Imig’s story shouts Butler’s story loud and clear.

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