LeRoy Butler’s long wait is over. The creator of the Lamebau Leap has leapt into football immortality.
The former Green Bay Packers safety has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 after being a finalist the past two years and a semi-finalist for a few years prior. While the wait was not nearly as long as the one Jerry Kramer had to endure before finally being enshrined in 2018, Butler’s enshrinement is overdue and arguably should have come before both John Lynch (class of 2020) and Steve Atwater (2019).
Butler finished his career with more sacks, forced fumbles, and interceptions than both Atwater and Lynch and he played in 43 fewer games than Lynch (181 to Lynch’s 223) while Atwater played the fewest games with 167.
Butler was the only member of the league’s All-1990s team not enshrined in Canton and he was also a four-time All-Pro (1993, 1996-1998) and he also was a revolutionary player at the safety position. When he moved from cornerback in 1992, safeties weren’t necessarily known at the time for being great pass rushers and great pass defenders at the same time. They were either one or the other.
Butler flipped that notion on his head by being the first defensive back to record 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career. Of course, he is also a Super Bowl champion and the creator of the Lambeau Leap, a celebration Packers players still use today almost 30 years after its creation.
The resume was more than enough and thankfully voters finally had enough sense to put him in the hall where he belongs. Butler’s journey from a wheelchair as a child to the peak of the football mountain is finally complete.
The Packers legend will be inducted in Canton this August alongside his fellow members of the class of 2022 that includes Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, Art McNally, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Dick Vermeil, and Bryant Young. Butler joins teammates Brett Favre and Reggie White in the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside team architect Ron Wolf.
Butler could represent the final modern-day Packers enshrinee until Aaron Rodgers goes in sometime in the future. Former wide receiver Donald Driver and former head coach Mike Holmgren have both been nominated but it seems only Holmgren has a remote chance at getting in.