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Kelvin Fisher's career change from mean streets to One Bills Drive

By Tim Graham

Although Kelvin Fisher couldn't stick with the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie fullback in 1992, he didn't lose his love for the game.

But rather than get into scouting or coaching at the time, he chose to use his Arizona State education. He majored in social work and minored in criminal justice.

Fisher became a juvenile probation officer in the Phoenix area until 1996 and worked for child-protective services in Portland, Ore., until 1999.

Fourteen years later, the Buffalo Bills' new director of college scouting looks back on those days with a bemused laugh.

Continue reading "Kelvin Fisher's career change from mean streets to One Bills Drive" »

Jack Butler a Hall of Fame player, perhaps an even greater scout

By Tim Graham

Jack Butler was great enough as a defensive back to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Butler was a four-time Pro Bowler for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was voted all-NFL three times and was one of two defensive halfbacks on the NFL's all-decade team for the 1950s.

The St. Bonaventure alum played on only two winning teams and never appeared in the postseason, but -- for a franchise loaded with Super Bowl champion defensive stars -- Butler was one of only 16 defensive players to make the Steelers' 75th anniversary team of 2007.

Yet when I asked Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Doug Whaley if Butler made a bigger impact on the game as a player or a scout, the answer wasn't easy.

Continue reading "Jack Butler a Hall of Fame player, perhaps an even greater scout" »

Rooney family mourns the passing of Jack Butler

By Tim Graham

The Pittsburgh Steelers have released statements on the passing of Jack Butler, the St. Bonaventure alum who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer.

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney:

"Jack was a tremendous player who ranked among the best in league history with his 52 interceptions while only playing in 12 games a year. He was a versatile player who was also used as a wide receiver, but his career ended unfortunately too soon with a bad knee injury. He was an excellent person both on and off the field, and he played an integral role in the BLESTO scouting program and our entire draft process before his retirement. His family was very close to the entire Rooney family, and he will be missed. Our condolences are with his family through this very tough time."

Steelers President Art Rooney II:

"Jack Butler was one of the all-time great Steelers. He devoted his entire life to the NFL and made contributions to many teams and many players through his work with BLESTO and player personnel matters. Our condolences are with the entire Butler family."

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert:

"Jack was a great person and great friend who always placed his faith and family first. Beyond his great play on the field, he was a legendary personnel man who helped so many of us get established in our scouting careers. He will be missed, but never forgotten."

St. Bonaventure, Steelers great Jack Butler passes away at 85

By Tim Graham

Jack Butler, the greatest college football player in Western New York history, died this morning from heart failure. He was 85.

Butler had been in and out of the hospital recently because of a staph infection that had plagued him since a gruesome knee injury forced his retirement from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1959.

Butler was an incredible example of overachievement. The Pittsburgh native was a walk-on receiver at St. Bonaventure even though he didn't play a down of prep football. Undrafted in 1951, he received a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers because St. Bonaventure's athletics director was the brother of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.

Butler somehow made the Steelers as a defensive lineman, but because of injuries to other players he eventually became a four-time Pro Bowl defensive back and later a highly respected scout.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer.

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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