Pro Athlete and Entrepreneur
In many Southern states, playing football is a way of life for young boys. For many, it’s the first thing they do after they learn to walk. Former National Football League strong safety Leroy Butler took a little longer than most young boys to get on the gridiron. Leroy lived with severe leg problems as a boy that caused him to walk pigeon-toed. But that didn’t stop him from believing that one day he would become a professional athlete.
He is a legend in Jacksonville and throughout the state of Florida. In 2007, he was named to the Florida High School Association All Century Team, which selected the “Top 33” players in the 100 year history of Florida high school football. Quite a distinction.
His legend grew larger when he attended Florida State University and continued his outstanding play. Even larger was his leap to the NFL where he played 11 seasons having been selected All Pro 4 times, made 4 trips to the Pro Bowl game, earned a place on the NFL All 1990’s Decade Team, won two NFC Championship titles, a Super Bowl and is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, the only NFL team he played for.
As the inventor of the Lambeau Leap, Leroy enjoys the enduring admiration of Packers fans everywhere.
Those are impressive accomplishments for a kid who many thought would never walk, not to mention run onto a football field. But Leroy’s determination and a mother who would not let him give up on his hope to achieve his dream has as much to do with his success as his athletic ability…maybe more.
It’s that “can do” perspective that Leroy shares with boys and girls he meets on visits to schools and hospitals and camps. He says, quite plainly, “If I can do it, so can you.” And his hand isn’t just extended to young people, Leroy helps adults too, particularly women who have suffered the ravages of breast cancer. Through his now defunct Leroy Butler Foundation, he provided financial assistance to those in need without the mounds of red tape that many organizations put people through to get a little help.
That’s Leroy’s way, no muss, no fuss, just make things better for people. He’ll tell you, “life isn’t easy…” but you’ve got to go at it with gusto and a belief in yourself. That’s not wild-eyed optimism, that’s the way he has lived his life – with gusto and a strong belief in himself. So far, it’s worked out well for the little boy who once rolled around in a wheelchair and had difficulty walking. Now he’s sprinting through life, an example of what one’s life can be, if only you believe.