Butler's shoes tough to fill

Safety LeRoy Butler has played 181 games for the Green Bay Packers, fourth on the team's all-time list behind Hall of Famers Forrest Gregg, Ray Nitschke and Bart Starr.<p> The 12-year veteran has played his last game of this season after breaking his left shoulder blade in the Sunday's 23-20 loss to Atlanta at Lambeau Field. The Packers announced the signing of two defensive backs Monday to try to fill the gap.

Butler hurt himself while tackling Falcons running back Maurice Smith at the Packers 5. He finished the game with three tackles.

"We lost a leader of the team and a leader on the secondary," said rookie cornerback Bhawoh Jue. "He's been in my head the whole time I have been here, trying to tell me what I have to do to get better. It's hard to replace a guy like that."

Butler's absence leaves the Packers even thinner at safety. They already lost safety Antuan Edwards for the season to a knee injury in the second game of the year. Now they'll turn to third-year safety Tod McBride and third-year player Chris Akins. But Akins' status is shaky after committing a costly personal foul in the fourth quarter, then blowing up on the sidelines.

The Packers wasted no time in bolstering the secondary. Green Bay signed veteran safety Billy Jenkins and re-signed cornerback Keith Thibodeaux, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Monday. Placekicker James Tuthill, who did not see action Sunday, was placed on waivers, making room for Jenkins and Thibodeaux on the active roster "You can't really explain it in words," said free safety Darren Sharper about losing Butler. "You don't want to dwell on it because other guys have to step up. But it's a hard loss to take. Things will change. There are different things we will have to do without him. It's tough."

Packer Report Top Stories