Coming Up
  • Fri., Jul. 25, 2014 6:00 PM CDT Packers 1K Kids Run

    Back to Football also includes the 1K Kids Run, presented by WPS Health Insurance. Kids 10 years old and younger will have the opportunity to run a Lambeau Lap on Friday, July 25, at 6 p.m. Registration for the Kids Run is $10 and all participants will receive a Packers 1K Run t-shirt, a logoed bag and a participant medal.

  • Fri., Jul. 25, 2014 7:00 PM CDT Movie Night at Lambeau Field

    Movie Night at Lambeau Field will return this year on Friday, July 25, following the 1K Kids Run. The event is free and open to the public, and concessions will be available throughout the movie. More details will be announced at a later date.

    Time listed above is subject to change.

  • Sat., Jul. 26, 2014 6:30 PM CDT Packers 5K Run/Walk

    The fifth annual ‘5K Run/Walk at Lambeau Field,’ is set for Saturday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m.

    The computer-timed run is highlighted by a neighborhood route that ultimately takes participants into Lambeau Field and around the famed gridiron. The event has a special finish line – the Packers’ ‘G’ painted on turf located in the parking lot.

    All participants will receive a Packers 5K Run T-shirt, a logoed bag, and a bib number and timing chip. To celebrate the race’s fifth anniversary, all participants will receive a commemorative medal. In addition, photos will be taken on the course and will be available at no cost on the Packers 5K Run website.

    Packers-themed awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each age group. An awards ceremony will take place following the conclusion of the race.

    Registration, which is $25 for adults and $15 for children (12 and younger), will be available online beginning Friday, May 23, at Mail-in registration is also an option, with forms available online and in person at Lambeau Field. Runners can also register at the Bellin Run Expo on Friday, June 13, at Astor Park in Green Bay. Early registration is encouraged. After July 13, registration fees will increase to $30 and $20, respectively.

  • Thu., Jul. 31, 2014 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT PPCC Annual Reception

    The Packers Partners Annual Reception is set for Thursday, July 31, 2014 in the Lambeau Field Atrium from 4:00 PM- 7:00 PM.

    Packers Jarrett Boykin, Eddie Lacy, Datone Jones and DuJuan Harris will appear at the reception. The event will include a Player Guest Q&A, a Meet & Greet with a Packers Alumni and a Raffle Drawing.

    This is a member’s only event. Invitations will be mailed the week of June 23rd, and online registration will open at 9 am CDT on June 25th and will close on July 11th at 5 pm CDT. 

    Invitations will include all of this information and additional details.

    To sign up to become a member of the Packers Partners Club of Champions and receive an invitation to the reception, fans can go to

  • Sat., Aug. 02, 2014 5:30 PM CDT Packers Family Night, presented by Bellin Health

    ‘Family Night’ will serve as the introduction of the 2014 Green Bay Packers, in-person to a capacity crowd in Lambeau Field and on television to a state-wide audience.

    The event, which begins with in-stadium activities at 5:30 p.m., will benefit the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids foster care adoption program, a signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.


Ricky Zeller

Ricky Zeller is a contributing writer for He has covered the NFL for several publications.


Butler half of disruptive DE duo

Posted Jun 22, 2011

Searching for an infusion of youth and talent at defensive end in the 1977 NFL Draft, the Packers struck decisively, selecting hard-nosed stopper Mike Butler at ninth overall and pairing him with speed-rusher Ezra Johnson at 28th. The bookends would anchor the defensive front for the next six seasons.

Butler arrived from Kansas and started immediately, while Johnson would be a major contributor as a rookie and work his way into the opening lineup a year later. Butler would go on to start 87 of 94 games with the Packers at left defensive end and was a consistent performer, earning second-team All-NFC honors in ’81.

Stout against the run and an able pass-rusher, Butler was the defender quarterbacks would see first when dropping back in the pocket while Johnson steamed around the passer’s blind side. Butler’s approach was more about force than flash.

“Ezra was a better ball-player against the pass, and I was a better run-stopper,” Butler said this week. “Ezra was before his time as a pass-rusher, he had those moves. Most quarterbacks are right-handed, and I was coming straight at them. For awhile there, we were a heck of a combination.”

They also knew how each other would react on the field and off. The defensive ends lived together for their first two years in the NFL and roomed together on the road for their entire careers.

Butler was a key member of Packers’ teams in the late ’70s and early ’80s that entered seasons with optimism, only to typically fall short of the playoffs. In the strike-shortened year of ’82, Green Bay reached the postseason for the first time since ’72, but in ’78 finished 8-7-1 and in ’81 were 8-8. When things went sideways during a promising season, often the club would lose talented QB Lynn Dickey.

“Every year we would get our hopes up, but we had a hard time with injuries,” said Butler. “We had some weapons and there would be a lot of excitement, but there was a frequency with injuries where we would lose people.”

In ’83, the USFL began operations, and Butler signed with the Tampa Bay Bandits before the NFL season, with the expectation to begin playing in the rival league’s spring and summer format. Butler’s contract with Green Bay had a year remaining, but the Packers wouldn’t allow him to play. The Packers finished 8-8 in ’83 while giving up 439 points, and Butler has always felt that had the team let him suit up that season, one more win may have been within reach.

With the USFL aiming to make a splash in its infancy, the new league’s clubs were raiding NFL rosters. Tampa Bay owner John F. Bassett offered Butler a guaranteed contract, a rarity which was too good to pass up.

“At the time, it was basically a business decision and all about the guaranteed contract,” Butler said. “Green Bay didn’t offer contracts like that, and from a business perspective I understand why there weren’t any teams in the NFL that did. But at the time I felt like I’d proven myself to be a good player and I’d been a starter.

“In football, you don’t play for yesterday or tomorrow, you play for today, and you can get cut at any time. At that time, it made sense.”

For Butler, the USFL was a memorable experience. The Bandits practiced at a local community college, so the facilities weren’t up to par with those in Green Bay. But generally, at least in Tampa, the accommodations weren’t all that bad. Steve Spurrier was the head coach, and former Cowboys guard Nate Newton was also on the team, as was former San Diego Chargers running back Gary Anderson. The club played at Tampa Stadium, the precursor to Raymond James Stadium.

“Bassett was a founding owner so he treated us well, and Burt Reynolds was involved, so they had a lot of movie stars around,” he said. “We played at the same stadium the Buccaneers did. We stayed in nice hotels. The first year we went to London and played against the New Jersey Generals. It was interesting, and I was fortunate enough to get back with the Packers.”

In ’85, Butler returned to Green Bay and played in 10 games before suffering a neck injury, ending his season and ultimately his career after nine years of pro football.

“I could have had surgery and come back and I wanted to get to 10 years, but I didn’t want to be a guy who was told it was time to hang it up,” Butler said. “It was a lot of fun. I miss that part of my life, the camaraderie, the friendships, we were a tight group. There were great, rabid fans, and I lived in Madison in the offseason.”

Today Butler lives in Tampa, Fla., but he didn’t make a home there following his stint with the Bandits. He is the Assistant Director for Asset Management of the Tampa Housing Authority, overseeing all non-public housing, assisted living facilities and warehouses.

“I’ve been in this field for 20 years and worked my way up,” he said. “I’ve been a director on two different occasions and in this capacity for 12 years.”

After his playing career, Butler held similar positions in Chester, Pa., New Orleans, and St. Petersburg, Fla., before settling in Tampa.

Butler’s daughter, Michelyn, won the Miss Wisconsin USA pageant and represented the state in the Miss USA competition in 2008. She is completing her doctorate in educational psychology at UW-Madison.

For a listing of more "Where are they now?" stories on, click here.

blog comments powered by Disqus