Robb Butler, a genuine athlete

Modern day athletes are living a life that only most could ever dream about. Sure, many speak in clichés and thank all the right people in public. But then they contradict themselves by the various public stunts they pull. Robb Butler, an undrafted free agent acquisition by the San Diego Chargers, has not been given nearly the same opportunities as many top professionals, but acts as if the world has been handed to him on a silver platter.

"I was just happy that somebody was giving me the opportunity," Butler said excitedly.

To the majority of fans, Robb Butler is an enigma. He went to Robert Morris University, a small school that has only been playing football for about a decade. Butler cannot be found on most draft websites, and even NFL scouts had no idea what his vitals were before measuring him. In a charming anecdote, Butler explains how he was afraid of misleading anyone.

"Oh man," Butler began with a chuckle, "I am officially – let me give the official tell of the tape – I am 5-11 and a half and about 217 pounds.

"The media guy at Robert Morris made me taller! I asked, ‘What's going to happen when pro scouts measure me? If they are anticipating me to be that size, and measure me, they are going to be disappointed.' So…he still didn't change it."

Butler jokingly added, "When the scouts asked me how tall I was they said, ‘you better not lie.' I told them 5'11. So when they measured me at 5'11 ½ they told me, ‘You lied to me … but in a good way.'"

Despite being an unknown commodity, Butler is an incredible athlete and has played numerous positions on the football field. Ironically, this is probably the reason Butler's name is not known amongst many scouts or fans. Butler thought he had found a home at wide receiver, but then his head coach – and former New York Jets' head coach – Joe Walton told him he was changing positions once again.

Considering it was his senior year, Butler obviously had concerns.

"They called me into the office one day. I thought I did something and was in trouble, you know, ‘the head man wants to see you,'" Butler explains. "The coach told me man to man, ‘I'm not saying your skills at receiver aren't good enough, but you would be best suited for your talent, athletic ability, toughness, and your ability to cover as a safety.'"

Butler did not know how long the move would last, but had faith in his coach.

"I am around some great people, great coaches and great men, I am very fortunate," he said genuinely.

Other type of athletes would use the "position merry-go-round" as an excuse for not being more highly touted. They might point the finger at an individual coach or a college. Butler was never given a chance to become comfortable at one position. Consequently, the consistent learning curve made it difficult for him to fine tune his skills. Of course, Butler only looks at the silver lining in any situation.

"If you watch me in camp, or in practice, I think you'll see my ability to cover as a safety. You'll look at me and be like, ‘This guy can cover a receiver as a safety? That's kind of odd, and he can cover pretty well.' That's a testament that I used to play corner," Butler confides. "It (playing receiver) increases my worth and I need to try to make myself indispensable."

Considering Butler was highly recruited out of high school, one could make a strong argument that if he was kept at one position and developed, he would have heard his name called on draft day.

Butler, though, refuses to waste the brain cells thinking about it. He believes everything happens for a reason and has a strong conviction of what his purpose is.

"I am living right and there is no one, no human being other than me that can stop it. I activated my blessing, so to speak. I am coming out of no where." Butler humbly adds, "No body knows who the heck I am, but that's fine and that's the way it's supposed to be, so that God can be glorified."

The Chargers have potentially found themselves a diamond in the rough. As far as Butler is concerned, he is the one who is honored about being in San Diego.

"I am impressed with the whole organization. Ron George (director of player development) is great. Everyone is just great."

Butler continues with enthusiasm, "I can't believe that they are just a positive group of people, and I'm looking forward to seeing that thing get to the first round (of the playoffs), and being apart of it."

In the day and age of the pampered athlete, it is refreshing to see someone look at what they have instead of what they do not have. Despite the many obstacles Butler has overcome, and has ahead of him, the glass is always half full.

"The whole cha-bang, the whole process, to everything in high school, and being a no-body to come out of Robert Morris, I am so blessed," Butler added in earnest. "And now, I am here for the San Diego Chargers, and hopefully for a long time to come. I am so blessed, man."

When fans see athletes who make millions of dollars refer to themselves as "fortunate", and then turn around and cry as if they were given a BMW instead of a Jaguar, it is hard to take anything they say seriously. Robb Butler considers himself "blessed" to be a Charger, but it just might be the Chargers who got the better end of this deal.

Byran Martin can be reached at

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