Packers’ Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler explains his ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment

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Even Hall of Fame players get their “Welcome to the NFL moment.”

Former Green Bay Packers defensive back LeRoy Butler, who is being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2022 class, explained his moment during a “Ask Me Anything” session on NFL Reddit on Wednesday.

As was probably the case for many players of his generation, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice helped open Butler’s eyes as a rookie in Green Bay.

“It was my rookie year and we were playing against San Francisco. I was the third corner and I run in the game and I saw Joe Montana out there. And then they said you have to cover Jerry Rice if he comes to the left,” Butler explained.

The Packers hosted Montana, Rice and the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers on Nov. 9, 1990. San Francisco was undefeated. Montana and Rice were still at the height of their powers.

“That’s when I looked up to the sky and said ‘God I’m glad I’m wearing yellow pants,'” Butler said.

There’s nothing like facing the greatest receiver in NFL history as a first-year defensive back.

“Jerry Rice ran towards me and they didn’t throw it to him thank God, but that was when I realized I have to play guys like this every week and I was playing against the Super Bowl champion 49ers,” Butler said.

The 49ers overcame an early deficit and beat the Packers, 24-20. Montana threw three touchdown passes, including a 64-yarder to Rice that all but sealed the victory. Rice finished with 187 receiving yards on just six catches.

Butler, meanwhile, was forever changed. He started all 16 games at cornerback as a second-year player in 1991 before transitioning to safety, where he became one of the game’s best players. The NFL named Butler to the All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

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