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Good story on Jerry Butler

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https://www.observertoday.com/sports/local-sports/2019/06/former-bills-wr-jerry-butler-visits-van-miller-tourney/

Butler was drafted by the Bills in 1979, and spent his entire nine-year career in Buffalo, including making the Pro Bowl in his second season in 1980. Butler grew up in South Carolina, the middle child of five siblings, in a family that had next to nothing. He originally went to Clemson on a track scholarship, but after the University of Georgia tried to steal him away, Clemson added him to their football roster.



A few years later, he was a first round draft pick.

It was Linda Bogdan — Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr.’s daughter, and pro football’s first female scout — who discovered Butler on a scouting trip to Ohio State to check out the first overall pick in the draft Tom Cousineau, also a Bill. With a little convincing, she swayed Bills brass into taking a look at Jerry Butler, who was drafted fifth overall.

 

And yes Linda Bogdan was a real scout. She discovered a number of players for Bills.

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Thanks for posting.  Jerry Butler was one of my favorite players from that era.

 

 

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Butler was fun to watch.  Too bad he wasn't young enough to stick around as the team improved shortly after he left.   Reed, Smith, and a few others had just come on as his time here wound down.  

 

Some good players on the team from those years.  Smerlas too.  Bell.  A different era tho for sure.  Fun.  

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I was there when he had the four td day versus the jets at rich.

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Wasn't his last reception a TD and he broke his leg on the play and that was the end of his NFL career?

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Butler was awesome. I had forgotten he had lasted that long in the league. That injury really sucked for him.

 

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38 minutes ago, tomur67 said:

Wasn't his last reception a TD and he broke his leg on the play and that was the end of his NFL career?

That was his second injury.  First was a blown out knee.  Without the broken leg, he would have been a part of that offense for a few more years.  However, one would have to then wonder, would they have ever added Lofton if Butler was still on the team???  Butler's last season was 1986 when Kelly joined the team.  Lofton joined the team in 1989.  

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IIRC, his career ended identically to ‘Golden Wheels’ Dubenion, breaking his leg catching a TD pass. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2019 at 10:20 PM, Helpmenow said:

I was there when he had the four td day versus the jets at rich.

 

 

Man, me too, Helpmenow.

 

I'll never forget that.

Edited by dollars 2 donuts
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I was in line with Jerry at BOA on transit rd in east amherst. I asked for his autograph. He said sure, however he spelled my first name wrong. Damn.

Also my brother has a photo of butler making this insane catch with his hands around Mel Blount helmet.

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Thought I’d add a few stories about Jerry’s Bills career from my book, “Then Levy Said to Kelly…”

 

An Invisible Spotlight

It’s not often when a team’s first-round draft choice – the league’s fifth overall pick, no less – is not in the spotlight. But during Buffalo’s training camp in 1979, that was the case for wide receiver Jerry Butler. The reason? He was selected after the Bills’ and the NFL’s top pick Tom Cousineau, a linebacker Buffalo chose with a draft choice it acquired as part of the O.J. Simpson trade with San Francisco a year earlier.

 

"In my mind, no matter how I looked at it, I really was a second-round pick in some respects," says Butler. "But I know that I was the fifth pick, and I obviously felt that I had a lot to prove to myself. I think the spotlight was always on Tom Cousineau [who would hold out and never actually play for the Bills]. I kind of got overlooked in that respect, but that’s all right. I don’t really go for the accolades. I just go do what I need to do."

 

An admirable attitude, but still, Butler was an All-American at Clemson and the first wide receiver chosen in the draft. Didn’t he feel slighted? "In some respects if you look back, maybe I was. But in the time that I was in it, I didn’t feel slighted because I really wasn’t an individual that looked for those things," Butler said. "I was more like, where’s my next challenge? What do I got to do now?   

 

"In just being in the NFL, having been drafted in the first round, that’s still pretty prideful for my family and everything and that was good enough for me. I really turned my attention to what I need to learn to be the best. My goal was hopefully one day to wind up in Canton. " Canton – where members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame wind up.

 

The Butler Did it Four Times

It did not take long for Jerry Butler to demonstrate why he was the most coveted wide receiver in the 1979 NFL draft. On September 23, in just his fourth game with the Bills and playing with a slightly separated shoulder, he placed his name in the team’s record book with 255 receiving yards on 10 catches. Four of the receptions were for touchdowns! Behind Butler and veteran quarterback Joe Ferguson’s 367 passing yards and five touchdown completions, Buffalo beat its division-rival New York Jets, 46-31.

 

"I had chicken wings for the first time on that Saturday [evening before the game]," said Butler. "The waitress said, ‘How would you like them? Hot, medium or mild?’ I said, ‘Hot.’ I slammed the first one in my throat and I thought I had horse radish! My nose was running, my eyes were watering, I thought when she said ‘hot’ she meant the temperature of the wings. I didn’t know she was talking about the spice on the wings. I found out why you dip them in the blue cheese, to cool those suckers off!"

 

Come Sunday, Butler was as hot as the wings. After catching the first touchdown of his career a little more than five minutes into the second quarter, he brought the Rich Stadium crowd to its feet with only seconds remaining in the first half. Trailing 21-12 and from their own 25, Ferguson called Big Ben, Buffalo’s name for the Hail Mary play. Seventy-five yards later, Butler was celebrating in the end zone.

 

"Like most what you call Big Ben or Hail Mary plays, it’s a last-second desperation-type play," Butler said. "The jumper was Frank Lewis. His position is to get down the field so he can get up and get a hand on it where he can tap it to the left or to the right. Joe put a lot of air under the ball, and the tip was turning over, and it came down. And Frank, I don’t think he even got a chance to get his hand on it. They came over his back and actually tipped the ball themselves. I saw the ball falling back behind their stationary position, and I sprinted as fast as I could and caught it right before it hit the ground, and took off running. We took a roll of the dice, and it rolled up in our favor, and it equated to seven points.

They had a little bit more to think about going into the half, and we went in feeling a lot more upbeat about what we had just accomplished."

 

"Just a great effort on his part," said Ferguson. "We threw it up and there’s just a hope. A throw and hope. You work on it in practice, naturally, which we did. A lot of teams don’t work on it. They’d do it one time a week, and we’d do it 10. So we knew how to run the play. Then to have an athlete like Jerry that could run and jump, then you’ve got a big chance to make it."

 

Butler and Ferguson came up big again in the third quarter. First they connected on a 74-yard scoring play. "It was a route that adjusted to a fade to the outside," said Butler. "I don’t remember if it was a blitz or not, but for some reason the coverage I got was a bump-and-run. If you’re able to get away from that defensive back and you can make a move to get into good position and get leverage on him, you’re in a pretty good situation to win. The ball was a little bit short. I remember slowing down a little bit and coming back inside, somewhat over the back of the shoulder. I think [Jets cornerback] Johnny Lynn pretty much stumbled and wasn’t able to recover, to actually catch up with me. I swiped the ball and took it all the way in."

 

And on Buffalo’s next possession, a 55-yard drive was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown reception by Butler on a slant play. "A pass from Fergy, I would call a ‘frozen rope,’" Butler said. "He would zip that thing. People don’t realize, when you’re in the red area, as a receiver, you don’t even see the quarterback sometimes. The ball just comes out of there. That’s what practice is all about. You start to anticipate the timing. Being a rookie coming into the league, it was kind of a welcome party, and it was a good boost for my career."

 

Welcome Back Butler

Even though they were on the wrong side of a 14-9 final score, Buffalo’s 1985 season-opener against San Diego meant so much to so many. It was the NFL debut of defensive end Bruce Smith, receiver Andre Reed, and kicker Scott Norwood. It was the Bills’ debut of quarterback Vince Ferragamo. And it marked the return of All-Pro wide receiver Jerry Butler.

 

Out of action since suffering a knee injury requiring surgery midway through the 1983 campaign, Butler had to rehab his body and his soul in order to get back on the field. "People that are trying to work back from an injury, it’s a mind game. It’s very tough not really feeling a part of the team. Every day, I was my own cheerleader. I had so much self-talk of what you had to do and your day and time will come. It was a process of going through a tunnel," said Butler. "That went for a while in ‘84. All I could think about in the off-season when I was working was, ‘I’ve got to do this!’ I was prayerful, and I told God, ‘Here’s the deal. If I’m able to come back through this, then I have to do something special in return.’ I made that vow.

 

"In training camp down in Fredonia, I struggled here and there, and I was the third-, fourth-string receiver. I was wondering, did this team see value in me? Would they wait for me? By then, Kay Stephenson had taken over [as head coach]. I think Kay was hoping that I would come back. He was pulling for me when he was the [offensive] coordinator under Chuck Knox.

 

"Our last preseason game, I wound up playing in the fourth quarter, and it dawned on me. Man, I go from a starter in the NFL, a Pro Bowl player, and now I’m playing in the fourth quarter of a preseason game! That doesn’t look good. As I moved toward the season, I’m not even sure if I’m going to make the team. I went and made the team, and through that [season-opening] week not being the starter. It got down to Sunday morning right before the game. Kay Stephenson came over to me and said, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘I’m fine.’ He said, ‘Good. You’re starting today.’ I thought he was kidding! I didn’t prepare myself mentally. I guess I was beating myself up because of how far I had dropped. At that moment in time, I kind of took to myself and just started talking to God and thanking him and [thinking] ‘Don’t let me go out there and embarrass myself and him at the same time.’ I think I had 100-some yards [game-high 140 yards on four catches], and I just had a ball."

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I'm confused.  In the article it said he called his mother-in-law right after the draft, but then the article said he met his wife a couple of weeks into his Buffalo stay.

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1 hour ago, The Poojer said:

I'm confused.  In the article it said he called his mother-in-law right after the draft, but then the article said he met his wife a couple of weeks into his Buffalo stay.

She was not mother-in-law at time.  He knew her and was introduced to daughter afterwards.  Article should have stated future mother-in-law.

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18 hours ago, Helpmenow said:

I was there when he had the four td day versus the jets at rich.

That is one of my earliest Bills memories

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20 hours ago, Rocket94 said:

Jerry Butler and Frank Lewis!

 

off to a nostalgiac scene for a few minutes of joy....

 

:D

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, row_33 said:

 

off to a nostalgiac scene for a few minutes of joy....

 

:D

 

 

I remembIer a wild card play-off game in 81. Butler, Lewis and Cribbs jumped to an early lead over the Jets? Richard Todd. Was it Don Criqui and John Brodie announcing? 

Edited by Rocket94
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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Rocket94 said:

I remember a wild card play-off game in 81. Butler, Lewis and Cribbs jumped to an early lead over the Jets? Richard Todd. Was it Don Criuqi and John Brodie announcing? 

 

Charlie Jones and Len Dawson (forgot he was on TV for awhile), not a bad guess though.

 

Worst ever team was Enberg and Dierdorf.

 

 

oh here...

 

Lewis/Cribbs, the NY Sack Exchange

 

what happened to the glory this game once was??

 

 

oh my goodness, Jets fumbled the KO and it's 7-0 Bills!!

 

 

Charles Romes!  Gettouttahere!!

 

 

Edited by row_33
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1 minute ago, row_33 said:

 

Charlie Jones and Len Dawson, not a bad guess though.

 

Worst ever team was Enberg and Dierdorf.

 

 

oh here...

 

Lewis/Cribbs, the NY Sack Exchange

 

what happened to the glory this game once was??

 

 

I know...the game still had an old school charm to it. I remember waking up late that day and the Bills scored two quick TD's. I think Frank Lewis scored in a hurry! It was at Shea Stadium...the crowd went silent. Richard Todd spent the game trying to rally. One of those couldn't stand to watch games! Sorry...basing this on memory!

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13 minutes ago, row_33 said:

 

Charlie Jones and Len Dawson (forgot he was on TV for awhile), not a bad guess though.

 

Worst ever team was Enberg and Dierdorf.

 

 

oh here...

 

Lewis/Cribbs, the NY Sack Exchange

 

what happened to the glory this game once was??

 

 

oh my goodness, Jets fumbled the KO and it's 7-0 Bills!!

Yes Romes! 

 

Charles Romes!  Gettouttahere!!

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, KD in CA said:

Thanks for posting.  Jerry Butler was one of my favorite players from that era.

 

 

 

 

...was always a classy guy IMO.......

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20 hours ago, Ronin said:

Butler was fun to watch.  Too bad he wasn't young enough to stick around as the team improved shortly after he left.   Reed, Smith, and a few others had just come on as his time here wound down.  

 

Some good players on the team from those years.  Smerlas too.  Bell.  A different era tho for sure.  Fun.  

Yes. I had the same feeling. I wish Butler was around for the Super Bowl years. 

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