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Ryan Grigson’s Words Spark Darius Butler

Posted Dec 21, 2013

Intro: Since Darius Butler played his first game in a Colts uniform during Week 4 of the 2012 regular season, he ranks second in the NFL with eight interceptions. What goes into Butler’s exceptional ball skills?



INDIANAPOLIS – When Darius Butler joined the Colts on Sept. 25, 2012, he headed into Ryan Grigson’s office for a little history lesson.

It wasn’t a trip too far back into Butler’s football career.

Grigson opened up the 2009 draft evaluation for Butler, something that wasn’t too common for the new Colts general manager.

“He wanted to show me what he thought of me coming out of (Connecticut), telling me about some things he saw at my Pro Day,” Butler said of meeting his new general manager.

“Basically, he told me that this was my third stop, probably one of my last chances, so kind of take it and run with it. That’s what I had to do.”

Flash forward 14 months later and Butler certainly has “run” with this opportunity.

Since Butler joined the Colts in Week 4 of the 2013 campaign, his eight interceptions are the third most in the NFL.

As a former defensive backs coach, Chuck Pagano is impressed by the “calculated shots” Butler takes in breaking on the ball.

“He’s got great instincts, great ball skills, studies and prepares extremely well, knows the opponent inside and out come game day,” Pagano says of “D-Buts”.

“He knows when to and when not to. You got to take some risks. He’s pretty much on point when he does.”

Most Interceptions since Week 4 of the 2012 Season

Richard Sherman

12

Darius Butler

8

Jairus Byrd

8

Tim Jennings

8

Patrick Peterson

8

Antrel Rolle

8

Earl Thomas

8

 

Not only does Butler have eight picks over the last 27 games, but six of those have come in divisional contests.

Add in three interceptions returned for a touchdown and Butler is showcasing the big play ability that Grigson wrote in that 2009 draft evaluation.

“It’s film study,” Butler said of the reason for his superb ball skills. “This is my fifth year in the league now and the game kind of slows down.

“Obviously, last year it slowed down for me and this year, the second year in the same system, it’s been the same thing. Especially against division opponents that you know well, you just know them a little better so you’re in better position to make plays. It’s been working out so far.”

Growing up, Butler had a knack for making big plays on the offensive side of the ball.

The days of Butler having the ball in his hands play-after-play as a high school quarterback are long gone but when he does get the chance with the pigskin he reverts back to the dual-threat signal caller.



“I know you could really turn around a game or put somebody in a hole even deeper if you score on defense or score on special teams,” Butler said recalling his young days.

“So (now) whenever I get the ball in my hands, I want to make the best of the opportunity, try to set us up with the best field position possible and, of course, try to score.”

When Butler looks back on that meeting with Grigson, the fifth year cornerback thinks about the difficult start to the 2012 season.

Butler was cut from the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 31.

Sitting at home for the start of the 2012 season was motivation enough for the former second round pick when walking into Grigson’s office.

 

“I had been out of the football for three weeks so that lit a fire under me, if anything else did it,” Butler says.

“Having that talk with (Grigson) definitely sparked me.”


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