AFC North: John Butler

CANTON, Ohio -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Jack Butler had us worried for a moment when he stared into the Fawcett Stadium crowd without saying anything for several seconds.

Stage fright? Hardly.

Butler, 84, soon made it clear he was on his game for the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement.

"OK," he said while Pittsburgh Steelers fans cheered, "that's enough."

Butler rose to the occasion. He was poised and measured. He spoke with purpose. His son, John, spoke of Jack Butler's discipline and work ethic. It was clear Butler was in control.

Butler finished his speech with panache when he thanked various family members for attending, then, in a nod to his age, rejoined with, "Heck, I'm thankful I'm here."
CANTON, Ohio -- Jack Butler stood and waved to the crowd while hundreds of fans wearing the Pittsburgh Steelers' throwback jerseys rose and cheered. The big screens at Fawcett Stadium showed Butler, 84, rising and soaking in their adulation.

That brought the first goosebumps of the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, at least for me.

Butler waited 50 years for his enshrinement. He and his oldest son, John, have been quite visible in Canton over the past few days. They've been so appreciative, so gracious, so humbled.

In speaking with John Butler at a reception Friday night, he said something about getting a couple of football cards featuring his father and giving them to my young sons. A couple of hours passed and that part of our conversation had faded from my mind. It was the sort of thing a lot of people would have said without really meaning it.

Our family left the reception, returning only briefly a couple of hours later in hopes of seeing a couple more Hall of Famers. The younger Butler found us and presented the two football cards -- both signed by Jack Butler, with "2012 HOF" written on them.

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