Jack Butler will be getting a lot of love from Steelers fans when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, but on Tuesday it was Steelers players who were showing the former defensive back some love.
Butler attended the Steelers first minicamp practice and afterwards all of the defensive backs went over to meet the Hall of Fame inductee.
"He kind of started this whole thing," said Ryan Clark. "He is a big part of everything that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. To be honored for what he did so long ago is an accomplishment. It's an honor for us to get an opportunity to meet him. He is a guy who paved the way. We wanted to show respect and let him know we appreciate and admire what he did on the football field."
Even though the defense is coached by a Hall of Famer every day in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, meeting another one meant a lot to them.
"He is a living legend and that is special, motivating and inspiring," said Ryan Mundy. "To see a guy who is a Hall of Famer, accomplished what he has, it's a humbling feeling and gives you a good feeling about being a part of this organization."
Second-year cornerback Cortez Allen already understands about the history of the Steelers organization and meeting Butler helped solidify that even more.
"It's an amazing opportunity to meet him with the history of this team," said Allen. "Having Coach LeBeau and Mr. Butler, with the accolades they had, it's something to reach for and strive to be like."
Butler laughed when he heard the younger players were singing his praises, staying true to his humble approach to football and life.
"It was nice and I appreciate it," said Butler. "I really liked meeting them. I don't know them personally, but I am really glad I got to meet them. But the things they say, I am just the guy I am. I know who I am, where I come from, where I want to go and how to get there."
Butler, along with Dermontti Dawson, will be the latest to join a long list of Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and Troy Polamalu knows that the success of the organization is tied into having such great players.
"When you walk into this facility you see a lot of Hall of Famers, Mr. (Dan) Rooney, Coach LeBeau, Mel Blount comes around, and Joe Greene, so it's awesome for all of us to be in the presence of some great football players," said Polamalu. "That is contagious. That is why programs like the Steelers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Yankees continue to be on top because it's a place that is surrounded by people that know what it takes to be great and win."