GREEN BAY - LeRoy Butler finally is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Butler, the former Green Bay Packers safety, is one of the 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of 2020, the Hall of Fame announced Thursday. Up to five of those players will be voted into the Hall at the selection meeting Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl in Miami.
Butler had made the cut to semifinalist (the final 25) in 2017 and ’18, but this is the first year he has advanced to the final 15.
“You just think about the emotions that go through you with what it takes to get to this level; then my life, just going through life as a kid, disabled, from the projects, raised by a single mom," Butler told PackersNews.com. "I’m just honored to be one of the 15 guys to go through this and get a chance to go into the Hall of Fame.”
At the selection meeting the day before the Super Bowl, the 48-person selection committee will hear a presentation on and discuss each candidate, then cut the list twice – from 15 to 10, then from 10 to five. The final five then each will be subject to an up or down vote, with a candidate needing 80% approval to make it into the Hall.
Butler played his entire career with the Packers, from 1990 through 2001, and is in his 14th year of eligibility for the Hall.
He is one of seven first-time finalists this year, along with safety Troy Polamalu, receiver Reggie Wayne, receiver Torry Holt, linebacker Sam Mills, linebacker Zach Thomas and defensive tackle Bryant Young.
Butler is also one of four safeties among the finalists. The others are Polamalu, Steve Atwater and John Lynch.
Butler was one of the stars of the Packers’ teams in the 1990s that won one Super Bowl, appeared in another and advanced to three NFC Championship games. He was voted a member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1990s and was a four-time first-team All-Pro.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed