Another Green Bay Packers legend will be waiting yet again for a special knock on his hotel room door. On Saturday at the NFL Honors, the league announced the enshrinement class of 2020 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and, unfortunately, LeRoy Butler is not among those headed into Canton.
Butler revealed himself that he is not part of this year’s class:
Sorry @packers fans!! I missed it this year!! Thank you to all the fans that voted for me!! GOD IS GOOD!!!— leroy butler (@leap36) February 1, 2020
Despite a growing consideration for safeties in the Hall of Fame — the position is one of the most poorly-represented in Canton — Butler not join the 5-man class of modern enshrinees. This year was Butler’s first as a finalist and his third straight year achieving semifinalist status, and being a first-year finalist made it relatively unlikely that he would earn induction this year. Other safeties, such as John Lynch and Steve Atwater, have been finalists for multiple years without induction, though both are still eligible for this year’s class. Still, Butler has more than a good enough case over either of those players anyway.
A veritable Swiss-Army Knife for the Packers in the 1990s, Butler began his career at cornerback, where he intercepted three passes each in his rookie year of 1990 and his second season in 1991. However, under new coaching in 1992, he moved to strong safety, where he blossomed into one of the best players at his position in the NFL and a member of the 1990s All-Decade team. Butler made four Pro Bowls and was a first-time All-Pro four times, earning both honors in 1993 and 1996 through 1998 inclusive.
Following the 1996 season, Butler earned his only Super Bowl ring when the Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI. He recorded a sack on quarterback Drew Bledsoe in that contest.
Butler is one of a handful of players to have recorded more than 20 sacks and 30 interceptions, joining Charles Woodson, Ronde Barber, Rodney Harrison, Brian Dawkins, and Ray Lewis. Lewis and Dawkins are both Hall of Famers, and every member of this group should end up in Canton when all is said and done.
On a more intangible note, Butler also famously created the Lambeau Leap when scoring a touchdown in 1993. Taking a lateral from Reggie White on a fumble recovery, Butler leapt over the Lambeau Field wall after crossing the goal line, jumping into the waiting arms of the green and gold faithful. With that, the most iconic touchdown celebration in NFL history was born.
Joining Butler as the other safety on the 90s All-Decade first team was Atwater, the former Broncos and Jets safety. Atwater is in his third consecutive year with that status, and the two were the only offensive or defensive players from the first team not yet inducted into the Hall heading into this year’s induction cycle. Tune in to the NFL Honors tonight to see if Atwater makes the cut for the Hall this year.