Packer legend brings Lambeau leap to NMU

Ray Bressette

Former Green Bay Packer Super Bowl champion Leroy Butler is bringing his talents and story to NMU as part of his ‘’My Path to Becoming a Super Bowl Champion’’ tour.

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 in 1100 Jamrich Hall.

Green Bay Packers defensive back LeRoy Butler (36) plays defense during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field on December 12,1999 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers won 31-33. (AP Photo/David Stluka)
Green Bay Packers defensive back LeRoy Butler (36) plays defense during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field on December 12,1999 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers won 31-33. (AP Photo/David Stluka)

Graduate assistant studying higher education and co-adviser at Platform Personalities Sara Pingel said bringing a former Green Bay Packer to campus is a good attraction for a sports-driven area.

“We wanted to bring a face that would be familiar to many people in the community,” Pingel said. “This is a good opportunity to reach sports fans across campus. It will attract a different crowd and demographic than other famous people we bring to campus. I think even Lions fans would want to come to this event, because [Butler] was such an influential player in the NFL.”

Butler has spent the last year traveling to schools and churches across the Midwest, sharing his life story and preaching his “Butler vs Bullying” campaign.

Growing up, Butler struggled with physical challenges being born pigeon-toed to the point where doctors had to break the bones to repair them. Butler was limited to a wheelchair and crutches for much of his childhood, making him a victim of bullying.

Butler faced many different kinds of adversity in his childhood, growing up on the rough side of Jacksonville, Fla. with his four siblings all raised by his mother.

Despite the adversity he faced growing up, he was able to play football and find a spot on the Florida State University Gators team in college.

After spending three years with Florida, Butler declared for the NFL draft in 1990 where he was drafted in the second round by the Green Bay Packers where he would play for 12 seasons.

Butler said universities are good grounds for him to spread his story.

“I enjoy speaking at schools in general,” Butler said. “I think everyone can relate to my story and apply it to their own situation, especially college students who are about to head out into the world on their own. I like to remind them that no matter what life throws at them, they can reach their dreams.

“If you were fortunate enough to be raised by positive people like I was with my mom, remember what they have taught you, surround yourself with the right people and be a leader when given the opportunity.”

The infamous “Lambeau leap,” an act in which a Packer jumps into the stands after scoring a touchdown, was first invented by Butler in 1993, and the celebration is still partaken by scoring Packers to this day.

A statue of Butler’s first leap is outside Lambeau Field in his remembrance. In 1997, Butler was a part of the Super Bowl XXXI winning team that brought Green Bay its third Super Bowl Championship. Before Butler retired in 2001, he was elected to four All Pro and Pro Bowl teams, earning him a place in the Packers’ Hall of Fame.

Butler’s speech is expected to last one hour, followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience. Following the event, an autograph session will be held for Butler to sign his book “The Leroy Butler Story.”

Tickets to hear Butler’s story on Wednesday are $2 for the public and free for NMU students.

Butler said NFL players need to keep in touch with their fans after retirement.

“I think it’s important for both the community and the player,” Butler said. “The community needs to know that we care. We can’t do everything, but if we’re personally motivated by something that can benefit from an NFL player’s attention and promotion, we need to get involved. Our playing days are done, but our work isn’t.”