Football

Butler still Bears' all-time leading scorer -- for now

2012-09-18T19:15:00Z 2012-09-19T21:16:25Z Butler still Bears' all-time leading scorer -- for nowJohn Burbridge john.burbridge@nwi.com, (219) 933-3371 nwitimes.com

GRIFFITH | Robbie Gould may catch Kevin Butler for Bears all-time scoring honors. But there is one placekicking distinction that Butler will always have a foothold on.

"No one ever returned a touchdown from my kickoffs," Butler said. "I made the tackles if I had to.

"One year I had nine solos."

Though no one scored off Butler, the Savannah, Ga., native did quite a bit of scoring himself. Even 17 years after Butler was released as the final holdover from the 1985 Super Bowl champion team, his 1,116 points are still a franchise best ahead of Gould (821 points) and the late great Walter Payton (750).

"I remember Walter was still on the team when I passed him," said Butler, who made a sport celebrity appearance Monday night at Bridges' Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar in Griffith.

"(Gould) absolutely has a great chance of passing me. He has established himself as one of best kickers in NFL history let alone Bears history. He takes his job seriously, and he's been great in the clutch."

Butler, who also holds the NFL rookie record for most points (144), said it may come down to if the Bears are willing to pay Gould enough to keep him.

"He may become one of the highest paid kickers in the league, but there are smaller cap issues to deal with," Butler said. "I remember when they let me go, it was a (Dave) Wannstedt decision, but money also played a part."

In spite of prejudices against kickers, Butler always considered himself a complete football player. He played on both sides of the ball during his prep career at Redan High School located outside Atlanta, and aspired to get a football scholarship as a quarterback before an injury his senior year forced him to focus entirely on kicking.

Butler went on to have an outstanding career at the University of Georgia -- Butler currently cohosts a Bulldogs-affiliated radio show in Athens -- which resulted in him being the only placekicker in the College Football Hall of Fame.

As for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is also only one placekicker enshrined: Jan Stenerud.

"And there is no punter ... it's a travesty that Ray Guy isn't in there," Butler said. "To have a position not represented is weird.

"When it comes to the hall of fame, it's not always about production but popularity. Kickers just don't get the attention as some of the other positions. Maybe that will change."

Butler's son, Drew Butler, is a rookie punter with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"He didn't start playing football until the ninth grade," Butler said of his son. "I worked with him when it came to placekicking, but when it came to punting, I thought it best to take him to Ray Guy's camp ... someone who knows a little more about it than I do.

"The Chicago Bears will always be my favorite football team, but my favorite football player is a Steeler."

 

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