Former Cowboys HC Wade Phillips recommends NFL teams call this WR ASAP

Former Cowboys HC Wade Phillips recommends NFL teams call this WR ASAP

As a longtime defensive coordinator and head coach at the NFL level, Wade Phillips knows talent when he sees it. Over his 59 games (playoffs included) on the Cowboys sidelines, he oversaw such notables as Tony Romo, Marion Barber III, Terrell Owens, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Flozell Adams, Marcus Spears, Greg Ellis, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman, and Sean Lee. Factor in his other stints in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston, and his Super Bowl-winning effort with the Rams, and it’s safe to say Phillips is a more than qualified evaluator of who can play in the pros.

And the 76-year-old coach has a new name for NFL clubs looking for pass-catching help.

Phillips is now running things for the UFL’s San Antonio Brahmas, who faced the St. Louis Battlehawks this past weekend in a conference title game. And while the Brahmas escaped St. Louis with a 25-15 upset win, one Battlehawks player in particular made quite an impression, on both Phillips and the rest of the spring league.

Wide receiver Hakeem Butler, named last week as the UFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, had compiled 45 catches for a league-high 652 yards and five touchdowns over the team’s 10 regular-season games. The 28-year-old former Iowa State Cyclone then added to his stats on Sunday with six more receptions for 59 yards- to lead the favored Battlehawks- in a comeback bid that fell short.

During postgame handshakes, though, Phillips had an encouraging message for Butler, telling him he’d be recommending him to NFL squads.

Unlike ex-Birmingham Stallions kicker Brandon Aubrey, who came to the Cowboys from the USFL as a virtual unknown, the 6-foot-5-inch Butler has had previous looks from several NFL teams.

He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2019, but missed his rookie season with a broken hand suffered in camp. He played in two games for the Eagles the following year: on his lone offensive snap, in a contest versus the Giants, Butler was targeted but did not make the catch.

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After being cut by Philadelphia in summer 2021, Butler made a go of it in the CFL with both the BC Lions and Edmonton Elks before joining the Battlehawks in 2023 in XFL play. He did well enough there that the Steelers signed him last May, but he was released before the season began and he returned to the Battlehawks for the UFL’s inaugural campaign.

Butler will be free to sign with any team that deems him worthy of another shot in the NFL. And although the Cowboys may appear to be full up on receivers at the moment, their former head coach would give the young man a glowing recommendation if asked.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire