Overcoming physical limitations is a challenge for many athletes. Turning those limitations into motivation set LeRoy Butler above the competition.
Butler triumphed over surgery on his club feet at age two and the subsequent years with leg braces to emerge as one of North Florida’s most memorable football players. He was a first-team Class 3A All-State selection and a member of the Florida Super 24 during his days at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville. Butler had 139 tackles as a linebacker and rushed for 388 yards on 18 carries as a wingback for head coach Corky Rogers, a fellow Hall member. He also earned two varsity letters in both basketball and track & field.
He accepted a football scholarship to Florida State University, where he recorded 194 tackles and nine interceptions and was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press and the United Press International. In a 1988 game against Clemson, Butler ran 78 yards with a fourth-quarter fake punt, setting up the game-winning field goal to lift the Seminoles to a 24-21 win.
Butler was a second-round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers in 1990 and earned a starting position in 1991. In 1993, he originated the Lambeau Leap, now a Packer tradition, when he jumped into the stands after returning a fumble for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Raiders.
Over his career, Butler was a four-time Pro Bowl pick and a five-time all-pro selection. His 181 games were more than any other defensive back in team history, and his 38 interceptions are fourth on the all-time list. Butler retired in 2001 after 12 years with the Packers. He was the official packers.com analyst for the 2003-2004 seasons, has published an autobiography, and established the Leroy Butler Foundation, Inc. in Jacksonville to help needy children.
Butler was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee following the 2000 season, and was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. He resides in Jacksonville with his family.