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Mike McCarthy marvels at Jack Butler's game

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."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |