Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bona legend Butler named to Pro Football Hall of Fame

St. Bonaventure football legend Jack Butler, class of 1951, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame during Super Bowl Saturday festivities in Indianapolis.

“I dreamed about being a big, strong football player … but deep down, I don’t really think I believed what I was dreaming,” Butler said in his press conference after being elected. “I knew I was pretty good, but I never thought I was that good.

“Jack Butler from Pittsburgh, Pa., by way of St. Bonaventure University, and here I am. … It’s really an honor and a privilege.”

Butler is the fourth St. Bonaventure alum in one of the prominent professional halls of fame. Baseball legends Hughie Jennings and John McGraw, for whom the university’s athletic fields are named after, are in the Baseball Hall of Fame; and Bob Lanier, ’70, is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

In August, Butler was named one of two Seniors Committee finalists for the Hall of Fame, along with Dick Stanfel, but only Butler was honored. He joins Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Willie Roaf and Chris Doleman in the 2012 Hall of Fame class, which will be introduced at the Super Bowl Sunday and inducted in early August.

Butler was named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1950s after a stellar career with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Butler, 83, who was given an honorary degree by his alma mater in 2009, was elected to St. Bonaventure’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1970. He was a star on the St. Bonaventure football team, playing alongside future NFL coach Ted Marchibroda. Among his NFL accomplishments:

• Butler appeared in four straight Pro Bowls (1956-1959).
• When a devastating knee injury forced him to retire in 1959, his 52 interceptions ranked second in NFL history.
• He was named one of the top 300 players in NFL history.
• In 2007, he was one of 33 players named to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Legends team, marking the team’s 75th anniversary.

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