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Butler (6-1, 248) is a thrid-year linebacker. San Diego selected him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
One of the top feel-good stories out of San Diego in 2011 was the emergence of inside linebacker Donald Butler.
A third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft whom the Chargers traded up 12 spots to select, the Bolts were looking for big things from the former Washington Husky as a rookie. But one afternoon during an early training camp practice, Butler tore his left Achilles tendon during a pass rush drill and his rookie season ended before it began.
Butler spent all of 2010 rehabilitating and when 2011 arrived, the door of opportunity swung wide open. Butler paid close attention and took copious notes from veteran inside ’backer Takeo Spikes, who was signed as a free agent in July. The two ended up starting side-by-side and Butler’s repaired Achilles held up as he and Spikes ranked 1-2 on the team in tackles with 119 and 102, respectively. By the time the ’11 season concluded, Butler had started all 16 games and he was the only Chargers defender to hang a number in every statistical defensive category.
Butler studied construction management at Washington. His mom, Janet Rice, was a single parent who worked a number of years for the Oakland (Calif.) Housing Authority while raising Donald and two siblings. Her career path spurred an interest in Donald in the business side of construction, which he pursued while playing football for the Huskies. Butler also spent two of his college years learning on the job as he interned with the Walsh Construction Co. in Tacoma, Wash.
The Chargers were looking for big things from rookie Donald Butler in 2010, especially after the team traded up in the third round of the ’10 NFL Draft to select him. But a torn Achilles tendon during a training camp practice ended Butler’s season before it began. With his leg now healed, Butler will look to make an impact on the field in 2011.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Third-round pick (79), April 23, 2010...signed four-year contract, July 13.
2011: Pressured Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne on Gilchrist’s interception with Butler getting a hit on Henne in Week 4...Butler finished the game with two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits...Intercepted his first NFL pass off Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton in the first quarter Week 5...scored a touchdown on the game’s opening drive in Week 7 against the Jets, stripping the Jets’ Dustin Keller after a catch and returning the fumble 37 yards for a score...registered a season-high three tackles for loss, part of the Chargers' seven tackles for loss, Week 12 against Denver.
2010: Placed on "Reserved-Injured"Aug. 31.
COLLEGE: Honorable mention All-America by Sports Illustrated, second-team All-Pac-10, co-captain and team’s 950 KJR Defensive POY after leading team with career-high 94 tackles in ’09...KING-TV Most Improved Player on defense in ’08 and team’s Defensive Player of Week after Washington State game...Academic All-Pac-10 in ’07...Travis Spring Most Outstanding Frosh Award for defense in ’06...played at Washington from 2006-09... construction management and business major.
PERSONAL: Born in Sacramento, California...honorable mention All-Metro by Sacramento Bee at Del Campo HS in Fair Oaks, Calif.
The San Diego Chargers tied for the top record in the AFC West last year with an 8-8 mark. Relive each memorable win as we break down some of the greatest moments from the 2011 season. We continue with Week 5’s victory in Denver.
The San Diego Chargers tied for the top record in the AFC West last year with an 8-8 mark. Relive each memorable win as we break down some of the greatest moments from the 2011 season. We continue with Week 4’s big win against Miami.
Donald Butler represents youth, potential and fun entering his fifth NFL game. Takeo Spikes is all experience, gristle and toughness in his 14th NFL season. Together, they make an effective pair at inside linebacker.