During his 12-year NFL career, spent entirely with the Green Bay Packers, safety LeRoy Butler made headlines as he established himself among the game's elite. Yet Butler's real success wasn't found in how he played the game, but that he did so at all.
Now only 34 years old and less than a year removed from his injury-forced retirement, Butler's life to this point has the makings of a good story, which is why it's no surprise that the always-outspoken Butler has decided to tell it himself.
Monday, Butler released a 208-page autobiography co-written by James J. Keller titled: 'The LeRoy Butler Story: From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap.'
The book, currently on sale at his website LeRoyButler36.com, details Butler's rise from the projects of Jacksonville, Fla., to the NFL. It also describes how Butler spent part of his childhood confined to a wheelchair, because the bones in his feet were weak and misaligned.
"It's a light-hearted story and an inspiration," says Keller, who published the book through his company JJK Sports Entertainment, Ltd.
"It's his story starting from 8 years old when he was in a wheelchair and living in complete poverty. He had nothing: no curtains, no blankets, no hot water. He lived around murder and drugs, and yet he made it out of the projects and ultimately to the NFL and stardom."
The book tracks Butler's route from his rocky childhood through his All-America high school campaign in Jacksonville, his All-America college career at Florida State University and his All-Pro NFL career with the Packers.
It mentions Butler's spontaneous invention of the 'Lambeau Leap' in 1993, and the Packers' Super Bowl seasons of 1996 and 1997. But Keller insists the book has more to do with life than with football.
"It's a human-interest story," Keller says. "It's a book for everyone, but especially for Packers fans."
Says Butler: "The book is a way for me to tell the fans how I grew up. It's all about being focused on the task at hand and doing the right thing, because that's the only way I made it out of the projects. I could have tried to make the quick buck, but I didn't. I worked my way out."
Butler dedicates the book to past, present and future Packers fans, thanking them for their support and for paying "their hard-earned money" to see him play.
The book sells for $24.95, with autographed copies available for purchase at $39.95.
Portions of the proceeds go to the LeRoy Butler Foundation and to other select charities.
In the past, the LeRoy Butler Foundation raised more than $2 million to build a 15,000-square foot youth center for underprivileged kids in Jacksonville.
Book Notes --
Title: The LeRoy Butler Story: From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap
Available: at LeRoyButler36.com
Price: $24.95 (unsigned), $39.95 (autographed)
Pages: 208, including 8 pages of color photos
Among those quoted in the book: Packers GM/head coach Mike Sherman, former GM Ron Wolf, former head coach Mike Holmgren and former defensive end Reggie White.
For more info write: James J. Keller, Publisher, JJK Sports Entertainment, Ltd., P.O. Box 368, Neenah, WI, 54957-0368.