INDIANAPOLIS – Not many defensive backs have a career revival at the age of 30.
But Darius Butler believes he had one in 2016.
During last year's Training Camp, injuries forced the Colts to give Butler an extended run at safety.
Butler worked back at safety for several practices, bringing some flexibility to his normal nickel cornerback responsibilities.
It's one thing to fill in at safety at Anderson University. It's a whole different animal to do it against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
But there was Butler in early November starting at safety, and recording an interception, versus Rodgers.
The safety duties for Butler continued for the rest of 2016 and has made the veteran defensive back more attractive with free agency looming.
"For me, I feel like it was a beginning of a new career almost," Butler said of his fifth season in Indianapolis introducing him to more of the safety position.
"I'm 30 now, but I feel like I have a lot of football left. My body feels good. Being back there is a different perspective. I like it."
The Colts have always loved the comfort level Butler provides their defense and are intrigued by what they saw at safety.
"Darius is someone that helps that whole defense in terms of just being that conduit," GM Ryan Grigson said earlier this season.
"He's very smart, he knows how to get guys lined up, he helps with all the young players we have on the defense, getting them squared away out there. And then he's around the ball."
Like with fellow free agent Mike Adams at safety, the Colts have similar questions with Butler possibly returning.
If the Colts do view Butler as a starting safety, that means the young duo of Clayton Geathers and T.J. Green would be on hold for at least another season.
Also, do the Colts feel they have room to bring back two safeties both over the age of 30 (Adams and Butler)?
One thing clear from 2016: Butler at safety brought a calmness to the Colts, knowing the football IQ and ball-hawking presence that was at the final level of defense.**
2017 Free Agent Watch**