By Tim Graham
CANTON, Ohio -- You never know who you're going to run into at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I spotted Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy posing for pictures with Jack Butler's family after tonight's induction ceremony. You could identify Butler's fans easily by their throwback, bumblebee Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys.
And then I spotted a man in the gaudy black-and-gold stripes and a Niagara Purple Eagles ballcap. It was Jack Butler's son, Tim, who went to Niagara to play basketball for Pete Lonergan.
"Why is Mike McCarthy here?" I asked Tim Butler.
"He grew up with us!" he replied.
McCarthy and Tim Butler were classmates at Bishop Boyle High in Pittsburgh. The Butler family invited McCarthy to the induction ceremony. The Packers weren't scheduled to practice today and don't take the field again until 7 p.m. Sunday. So the Super Bowl-champion coach jumped at the offer.
McCarthy's favorite part was the black-and-white 1950s footage shown before Jack Butler's speech. There was some grainy St. Bonaventure film in there, too. By the time McCarthy was old enough to realize who Jack Butler was, the legendary Steelers defensive back was overseeing the BLESTO scouting service.
"It was really fun to see highlights of him as a player because you never saw that growing up," McCarthy told me as we walked out of Fawcett Stadium. "We just knew him as Mr. Butler and running BLESTO. You heard stories from your parents on how he was such a great player, but to see the video was really neat."
Jack Butler didn't play football at his Niagara Falls, Ont., prep school and went undrafted out of St. Bonaventure in 1951 even though there were 30 rounds.
"It's incredible when you look at his background about not playing football until later," McCarthy said. "But when you saw the highlight tape, he definitely could play and hit. He could play in today's game."