The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


November 17, 2012

Colts Game Day: Butler making most of 'final' chance

Colts cornerback hopes he's found a home in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — In the hours before the Indianapolis Colts’ most recent victory at Jacksonville, cornerback Darius Butler spotted Mike Mayock on the turf at EverBank Field.

The NFL Network analyst is one of the most respected talent evaluators currently on television, and Butler remembered him from his predraft workouts in 2009. Mayock had been high on the defender as a prospect coming out of the University of Connecticut.

Now, as Butler was about to make his first start with the Colts, he sought some sage advice.

As Mayock later shared with viewers on the national broadcast, he told Butler this was likely his final opportunity in the NFL. It might not have been what the fourth-year defensive back wanted to hear, but it was what Mayock felt needed to be said.

And Butler took the words to heart.

“He did say that, and I told him I’d take advantage of my opportunity when given,” Butler said this week at the Colts’ training facility. “And I feel like I want to just keep doing that, keep building on it.”

First-year Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson threw Butler a lifeline in late September, claiming him off the NFL’s waiver pile and giving him one more chance to live up to the promise Mayock and the New England Patriots saw in him three years ago.

A former second-round pick, Butler had just four tackles on defense, four more on special teams and one pass deflection in his first five game weeks with the Colts.

He also missed two contests because of injury.

Ironically, it was an injury to two other players — starting cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Vontae Davis — that finally gave Butler his big break in Jacksonville.

With Mayock’s words still ringing in his ears, the cornerback made an unforgettable impression.

He intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble, single-handedly doubling Indianapolis’ takeaway total for the season and returning one of the picks for a touchdown in a 27-10 win against the Jaguars.

In the process, Butler became the first Colts defender with three or more takeaways in a game since Mike Prior in 1992 and just the fourth overall since the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

For his efforts, he also was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

“I think sometimes when guys bounce around after a couple of seasons, then all of the sudden they have to take notice that, ‘Hey I’ve got to square up and start studying and understanding exactly what they want to do,’” Indianapolis defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “And that’s what he’s done.”

It appears he’ll have the chance to continue doing it for the forseeable future. Powers’ toe injury was deemed bad enough to end his season, and Davis will miss at least one more week with a knee injury.

That means Butler will again start opposite Cassius Vaughn today as his story takes another remarkable turn.

The Colts (6-3) visit the Patriots (6-3), the team that gave Butler just eight starts over two seasons before waiving him following training camp last year.

He spent a season with the Carolina Panthers before again being waived in final cuts in August. But it’s clear his experience in New England remains fresh in his mind.

“We’re both 6-3 right now, and obviously it’s a big important game, especially in our conference, the AFC,” Butler said. “But I would say it definitely means a little bit more to go back up there and have this opportunity to play against my old team. So I’m looking forward to it.”

He’ll face an offense that leads the league with an average of 430.3 yards per game. New England has a wealth of weapons in the passing game with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.

The Patriots also have the league’s fifth-ranked running game, led by Stevan Ridley with 814 yards and six touchdowns.

But the engine driving it all remains Tom Brady. In his 13th season, the veteran quarterback has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,645 yards with 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

“He’s incredible,” Butler said. “Even when you’re practicing with him every day, you’re still shocked at some of the things and some of the places he puts the ball. He’s special. There’s only a handful of guys who can do the things that he does, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

If that challenge provides Butler with the same motivation as Mayock’s words in Jacksonville, the Colts could again shock the league.

No matter the outcome today, it appears the well-traveled corner finally has found a home in the NFL.

“That’s the whole beauty of the mantra ‘Next Man Up,’” Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “Don’t give it up once you get it. Ryan gave him an opportunity to reclaim his career, and he’s making the best of it.”

Text Only
  • SPT - HB0729 - Colts practice - JC 046a.jpg Colts Camp Update: ESPN's in town

    The first week of practice at Anderson University wrapped up Monday morning with the Indianapolis Colts working out from 9 a.m. to noon.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Castonzo 2 - 278 Castonzo comfortable with Colts' changing O-line

    For all the changes along the offensive line the past three seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been the lone constant. He joined a veteran group anchored by center Jeff Saturday in 2011, was part of a remodeled unit in 2012 and became a mainstay at left tackle for all 16 games last year.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Allen 1 - 290 Colts' offense adapting to new arsenal

    Third-year tight end Dwayne Allen suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guard Donald Thomas, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Reggie Wayne also exited the lineup over the next six weeks. It left offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scrambling to come up with new ways to attack defenses with an ever-changing cast of characters.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Gordon art Fifth Brickyard for Gordon Indiana racing fans roared their approval of the kid they watched growing up in open wheel cars as Jeff Gordon scored his record fifth Brickyard 400 victory Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dorer scores JEGS win at Anderson Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300. The next year he flipped in Turn 1 during the CRA Super Series event. He scored another highlight Saturday night by winning for the first time with the CRA/JEGS All-Stars Tour event in the Edgewater Woods 100.|ANDERSON — Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Fre

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT-HB0727-Luckwatch-ColtsCamp-094.jpg Colts Quick Hits: Sunday, July 27

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0727-AndrewLuck3749.jpg Change the Play

    Andrew Luck had an active childhood filled with a myriad of sports and activities. Now, he wants Hoosier kids to have that opportunity, too.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0727 - RBs - Colts Camp - 141 Colts have options in Ballard's absence

    Chuck Pagano delivered the news Saturday afternoon in a solemn tone, confirming running back Vick Ballard will miss the 2014 season. "It's a part of the game. It's an ugly part of the game," the Indianapolis Colts head coach said shortly after revealing an MRI on Friday night found a torn Achilles tendon in Ballard's left foot. "It's a tough pill to swallow. You never want to lose anybody."

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Hoosier Park preparing for 2014 Dan Patch Invitational One of the most highly anticipated days on the harness racing card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will take place Aug. 8 as the best in the sport of harness racing will descend upon the seven-eighths mile oval for the 21st edition of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. As part of a weekend long festival of entertainment and racing, 10 of the top-rated pacers in North America will take center stage as they go to post seeking glory in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event.

    July 26, 2014

  • Riverside falls at regional The Riverfield Little League Senior softball all-star team fell 9-3 to Ohio on Saturday morning and was eliminated from regional competition in the 15-16 year-old division.

    July 26, 2014

Latest Sports Photos

Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News