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SAN DIEGO – “Sorry, I’m a little sweaty,” Donald Butler said, offering a handshake as drops of liquid congregated on either side of his nose.
Butler’s sweat is a symbol of joy for the 6-foot-1, 248-pound inside linebacker who spent the 2010 season on Reserve-Injured after tearing his Achilles tendon.
The third-round draft pick was expected to play an important role on special teams and potentially contribute on defense as well, but instead spent his time rehabbing and walking around Chargers Park in a heavy boot.
A smile had returned to his face by mid-February as he relished the rigors of conditioning work. His expression was drastically different than it was after he injured the Achilles during a routine 1-on-1 pass-rush drill during training camp.
Butler recently began running on a treadmill and doing interval work. His on-field conditioning activity still is restricted.
“But it’s coming along well and I’m looking forward to getting back to 100 percent,” he said. “I’ve still got a couple months left but I’ve been making a lot of big strides this past month.”
Time on the Reserve-Injured list can be challenging to cope with, particularly for an NFL rookie who didn’t get to play in one preseason game before being sidelined.
“It makes me happy again that I can be back on the field after missing the whole season,” Butler said. “As a rookie that will kill your whole vibe, your mood. But you learn from everything and move on.”
SAD NEWS: The Chargers extend their condolences to the family of Steven Haynes, president and founder of Athletes for Education, who passed away on Feb. 18.
Haynes, 52, ran the non-profit dedicated to assisting young people through programs aimed at promoting the value of education and encouraging success. He worked with several current and former Chargers players in the community for the last two decades.
Haynes helped set up Steve Gregory’s foundation, the SG Squad, and also had close ties to Luis Castillo and Jacques Cesaire’s community work among others. Read