Former Green Bay Packers All-Pro safety LeRoy Butler continues to wait for what he has earned: A place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Packers fans are no doubt disappointed of Butler’s exclusion from the 2021 class, but there is reason for optimism.
A position historically over-looked, safeties are becoming more a part of Hall of Fame discussion and voting than ever before.
Each of the past five Hall of Fame classes features at least one safety. The most recent examples include Steve Atwater (2020) and John Lynch (2021).
To me, Butler’s resume and the way he transformed the position are more impressive than both. But the reality is, Butler was never going to get in before Atwater, or Lynch, or Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu or Brian Dawkins.
But now the runway is clear of obstacles. First year eligible players for the class of 2022 will not include a safety.
With each passing year, Butler inches up on a list he would prefer not to be included on: The NFL’s best player NOT in the Hall of Fame.
In 2022, Butler’s name will come off that list.