When it came time for the Cowboys to make their selection in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft they choose defensive end Victor Butler out of Oregon State. Thoughts were to convert Victor Butler to outside linebacker in the Cowboys 3-4 defense. Three years after being drafted Butler has made a successful transition to outside linebacker and also contributes to the Cowboys special teams.
Victor Butler was born on July 29, 1987 in Rialto, CA. His father Sylvester, a truck driver and mother Janis, a social worker had their hands full with eight children. Victor is the fourth child out of the eight. He attended Eisenhower High School where he was a three-year letterman as a receiver, safety, defensive end and kick returner. He played defensive end only as a senior due to team needs and was two-time all-league and all-county as a senior. Butler graduated from Eisenhower high school with a 3.50 cumulative GPA and was a regular on the school’s honor roll.
After high school Victor Butler attended Oregon State. As a junior in 2007 Butler compiled 10.5 sacks for the Beavers at defensive end. In his senior season of 2008 he totaled 12 sacks. He earned MVP honors in the Sun Bowl as he registered four sacks and 11 tackles, which included five tackles for a loss and a forced fumble as Oregon State defeated 18th ranked Pittsburgh.
In Victor Butler’s collegiate career at Oregon State he totaled 26 sacks and 110 tackles, which included 39.5 tackles for losses.
While playing outside linebacker for the Cowboys as a rookie in 2009 Victor Butler registered his first career pro sacks. In a game against the Carolina Panthers he took down quarterback Jake Delhomme twice as the Cowboys beat the Panthers 21-7. On Butler’s second sack of Delhomme he also forced his first career fumble. Butler finished 2009 with three sacks and 17 tackles. His three sacks were the most amongst Cowboys rookies in 2009 and also fifth most on the team. Butler played in all 16 games in 2009 while starting one for the Cowboys.
In 2010 Butler totaled 24 tackles and two sacks for the Cowboys while also forcing a fumble and pressuring the quarterback four times in his 15 games.
In 2011 Butler contributed 23 tackles and three sacks for the Cowboys in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s defense. His first sack came in the Cowboys 18-16 victory over the Redskins in the Cowboys season home opener on Monday Night Football. His second sack came against the Redskins in their second matchup in Washington. It was Butler who sacked Rex Grossman in overtime on third down as the Redskins were in Cowboys territory. The sack forced the Redskins to attempt a 52 yard field, which of course they missed. His third sack came on Thanksgiving against the Dolphins on third down. The sack forced the Dolphins to attempt a field goal which they also missed. In the first meeting against the Giants it was Butler who tipped a pass by Eli Manning which resulted in an interception by Sean Lee late in the game.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Victor Butler a few questions and he was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer them for me.
- What were your thoughts when you were drafted by the Cowboys in 2009?
Victor Butler: I was so excited. I had been a Cowboys fan my whole life. I had a little kid Dallas Cowboys uniform from a Halloween contest I wore for a while. All Cowboys, Cowboys underwear, Cowboys socks, Cowboys boots, sleeping bag, toothbrush, Troy Aikman lunch pale, so I was excited to be on board with Cowboy Nation.
- Were you a Cowboys fan growing up?
Victor Butler: Oh yeah, I was a mega Cowboys fan. I played Cowboys and Indians and ate Troy Aikman Wheaties. Just everything Cowboys.
- What kind of feeling is it wearing the star on your helmet?
Victor Butler: It’s a tremendous feeling of pride.
- Was it hard going from defensive end in college to linebacker in the NFL?
Victor Butler: It was very hard, but I worked very hard to make it look easy.
- Who would you say has helped you the most in your three years with the Cowboys?
Victor Butler: Captain Planet, just really watching a lot of Captain Planet, ha I’m just joking. DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer taught me how to be pros and the whole different way of watching the game, watching the films, prioritizing my time, getting a schedule and sticking to it. Whether it’s a diet or what I’m doing from time after practice to when I go to sleep. And Bradie James too, really all the veteran linebackers.
- How is Rob Ryan’s defense different for you compared to Wade Phillips defense?
Victor Butler: Rob Ryan’s defense is a player friendly defense. Lot of moving around, lots of moving pieces, kinda incorporates everyone as far as if you’re a 1st round pick to a 4th round. If you can help the team and be a productive member on the field on defense then you will have a part in his defense. Makes everyone feel like they are part of something bigger.
- You have developed a large following among the Cowboys fans. How does it make you feel knowing so many fans are out there talking about you and wearing #57?
Victor Butler: Is great! Dallas is one of the most recognizable organizations after Manchester United and the NY Yankees, so to have a great following and a great group of fans follow you and respect what you do and like how you’re performing. It’s a great feeling.
- What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Victor Butler: Watch film, a lot of film, I like to be one step ahead of the opponent. I also like cartoons and I’m a big movie buff.
My own thoughts about Victor Butler are that he needs to be a bigger part of the Cowboys defense. It seems as though every time he is on the field he is around the ball and is making something happen. I love his motor on the field and how he is always causing problems for the opposing team. The Cowboys defense can only benefit with Victor Butler becoming a bigger part of their game plans