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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Thu., Jul. 30, 2015 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM PDT
Fri., Jul. 31, 2015 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM PDT
Butler: “It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This”
There is so much uncertainty when it comes to being a free agent, but for Donald Butler, there was only ever one choice.
He wanted to be a San Diego Charger.
He couldn’t imagine playing with anyone other than the group of men within his locker room. He couldn’t picture playing in front of anyone but the Chargers faithful. He couldn’t envision wearing any uniform except the lightning bolt.
That’s why he couldn’t help but don a wide smile as he walked the halls of Chargers Park seconds after signing a multi-year contract.
“Words can’t even describe how I feel right now,” he said. “Obviously the Chargers are the team that drafted me and I’m excited to be here and work with the fellas for years to come. What’s not to love about San Diego? The fans are great. They have our back regardless of what we’re going through. They’re there for us. Just the city of San Diego itself, it doesn’t get much better than this. I’m just all smiles.”
After missing his rookie year due to a torn Achilles, Butler has been a dominant force at inside linebacker. In three seasons he’s totaled 295 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. Even though he’s only 25 years old, Butler was elected co-captain of the defense in 2013. Despite missing three games due to injury, he ranked second on the team with 99 tackles.
During this entire process, General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy haven’t been shy about their feelings for number 56. That meant the world to Butler, who looks forward to proving they made the right to decision keeping him in America’s Finest City.
“That was huge for me,” he said. “After the season I was a free agent and of course you get worried about if you’re going to be able to get the deal done or will I have to hit the free agent market. So I’m just happy both sides worked diligently to get this done. Now the time is here.”
While his remaining with the team was obviously the news of the day, Butler repeatedly emphasized how the sky is the limit for what the Bolts can accomplish.
“This team has a very bright future,” he said. “We have a great core nucleus of guys on defense that can really take this team to the next level. We have Eric Weddle, Corey Liuget, Manti (Te’o), Kendell (Reyes), Melvin (Ingram); I can go on and on. So our future is very bright.”
Butler broke the news that he agreed to terms with the Chargers on his twitter account because he wanted to tell his fans himself that he was coming back. He felt it important to show his appreciation for them always being there for him.
“They were asking me literally every day what was going on with the contract, and I didn’t respond,” he said. “I felt that the fans should be the first to know. I just want to tell them that I love you. Thank you for all your support. I’m here for years to come so let’s go have fun!”