INDIANAPOLIS – Now, imaging Darius Butler as anything other than a safety in 2017 is a bit laughable.
With Clayton Geathers sidelined until at least mid-October, the Colts are already down one defensive starter to begin the season.
That means Butler continues to take the first-team reps in Training Camp, just like he did throughout the spring, when Geathers and Malik Hooker were both sidelined.
Butler's more permanent transition to safety this offseason has taken on even more of an onus with the injury news to Geathers.
"Darius is a safety until he's not and right now that's what he is," defensive coordinator Ted Monachino says of Butler sliding over from his normal nickel cornerback position.
With so many young faces in the 2017 secondary, the Colts were always going to lean on Butler for some veteran leadership.
They are now definitely going to rely on Butler for his on-field play, too.
Last week, Vontae Davis was asked about a player, that no one is talking about, who will have a great 2017 campaign.
"I will say Darius Butler," Davis said. "He had a great OTA. I think the sky is the limit for him. He's also a ball hawk. He can do some great things in his transition to safety."
In 2016, Butler saw starting action at safety in a handful of games.
That film evaluation for new GM Chris Ballard made Butler an attractive re-sign candidate, despite him reaching the age of 31.
Even though Butler's experience at safety is pretty minimal, compared to other NFL-ers playing that position, it's vast when looking at the rest of his Colts' position-mates.
Outside of second-year safety T.J. Green, the Colts do not have one healthy safety who has started an NFL game.
Back in the spring, the Colts decided they needed Butler.
As summer turns to fall in the coming weeks, that need has only grown.
"Darius is a football player. That's what he is," defensive backs coach Greg Williams says. "I think everybody that has seen him since he has been an Indianapolis Colt (2012) knows that Darius is a football player.
"The good thing about him is that wherever he is needed, he goes. You know he can play. He has the physical ability and the mental capacity to play anywhere on the football field."
Colts Training Camp 2017 - DAY ONE - AUTOGRAPHS at Lucas Oil Stadium!
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