GREEN BAY – Former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler, voted to the 1990s all-decade team, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time.
The Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Butler was one of its 25 semifinalists for induction into the Class of 2018. The list was trimmed from 108 to 27 instead of 25 because bylaws require all ties for the 25th position to be included in the semifinals.
Butler retired after the 2001 season and continually has been part of the initial 108 nominees but never a semifinalist. His next hurdle will be to make the cut to the 15 modern-era finalists in January.
From that list, four to eight nominees will be elected to the ’18 class. The Hall of Fame committee meets to decide the inductees the day before the Super Bowl and the final results are released that day.
Butler is one of four safeties who made the semifinals. The others are Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Brian Dawkins.
Butler, a four-time Pro Bowl and all-pro selection during a career that spanned 12 seasons, finished his career with 38 interceptions and 20.5 sacks. He was the first defensive back in NFL history to record 20 interceptions and 20 sacks.
The Hall of Fame bestowed upon him the all-decade team honor and in 2007 the Packers inducted him into their Hall of Fame.
In addition to helping the Packers win the Super Bowl in 1996, Butler is known for inventing the “Lambeau Leap,” a touchdown celebration he started in 1993 after finishing a defensive touchdown with a leap into the stands.