PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It’s a sad day in Steelers Nation.
Steelers Hall of Fame defensive back Jack Butler died Saturday morning following a lengthy battle with a staph infection. He was 85.
Butler’s son John said his father’s heart stopped suddenly.
The Hall of Famer had been hospitalized for several months while dealing with a staph infection that had plagued him off and on since he retired in 1959.
A Pittsburgh native, Butler made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of St. Bonaventure in 1951.
And from 1951 to 1959, Butler was the premiere cornerback of his era and was a threat to any quarterback who dared to pass against him.
During his nine seasons with the Steelers, he collected 52 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl four times and was named to the All-NFL first team three times.
Butler was elected to the Hall of Fame by the senior committee in 2012.
He was inducted last year with another former Steeler, Dermontti Dawson, and two former Pitt Panthers, Curtis Martin and Chris Doleman.
The Steelers have released statements following Butler’s passing. They come from Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, President Art Rooney II and General Manager Kevin Colbert.
Dan Rooney’s Statement: “Jack was a tremendous player who ranked among the best in league history with his 52 interceptions while only playing in 12 games a year. He was a versatile player who was also used as a wide receiver, but his career ended unfortunately too soon with a bad knee injury. He was an excellent person both on and off the field, and he played an integral role in the BLESTO scouting program and our entire draft process before his retirement. His family was very close to the entire Rooney family, and he will be missed. Our condolences are with his family through this very tough time.”
Art Rooney II’s Statement: “Jack Butler was one of the all-time great Steelers. He devoted his entire life to the NFL and made contributions to many teams and many players through his work with BLESTO and player personnel matters. Our condolences are with the entire Butler family.”
Kevin Colbert’s Statement: “Jack was a great person and great friend who always placed his faith and family first. Beyond his great play on the field, he was a legendary personnel man who helped so many of us get established in our scouting careers. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”
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