Butler, Dawson Elected to Hall

Jack Butler was a Steelers star of the 1950s and became one of the great scouts of the game. Dermontti Dawson continued the team's tradition of excellence at the center position. Both have been elected into the Hall of Fame.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Jack Butler and center Dermontti Dawson were honored with the highest individual award in professional football when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced today they are members of its Class of 2012.

Butler and Dawson are part of a six-member class that also includes Pitt's Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Pitt's Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf.

"I would like to congratulate both Jack and Dermontti for their elections to the Pro Football Hall of Fame," said Steelers president Art Rooney II. "They are both deserving of this honor for all they have done throughout the years to help build and continue our rich tradition. It is a great day for the entire organization that we can celebrate two of our all-time greats getting selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012."

Butler played in 103 games during his nine seasons as a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1951-59) and was selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1950s. With 52 career interceptions, Butler ranked as the NFL's second all-time leader in interceptions when he retired after the 1959 season. The Pittsburgh native registered 827 return yards on interceptions, returning four for touchdowns. Butler also returned one fumble for a touchdown.

Despite recording 25 interceptions in his first four seasons, Butler was not selected to his first of four career Pro Bowls until 1955. A season later the Pittsburgh native was named second-team All-NFL. In 1957, Butler tied for the league lead with a career-best 10 interceptions and earned first team All-NFL honors. He was named first team All-NFL in each of the next two seasons. Butler is still tied for the NFL record for interceptions in a single game, registering four against the Washington Redskins in 1953. He was forced to retire after suffering a severe leg injury late in the 1959 season during a game versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dawson was a second-round draft pick by the Steelers in 1988 and played guard as a rookie before replacing Hall of Famer Mike Webster at center in 1989. Dawson started for the majority of a 13-year career that saw him play in 184 games during the regular season, including 170 consecutive, the second longest streak in franchise history. He was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1993-99), was a first team All-Pro for six straight years (1993-98) and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

During Dawson's 13-year career, which ties for the third-most seasons played in franchise history, he helped the Steelers win five division titles, appear in three AFC Championships and one Super Bowl. In 1993, Dawson was named NFLPA AFC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year and in 1996 he was the NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year. With Dawson as the anchor of the offensive line the Steelers recorded a winning record in nine of his 13 seasons.

He replaced a Hall of Famer, Mike Webster, and started for Pittsburgh for most of his 13 pro seasons.

''You never know what your career is going to turn out to be,'' Dawson said. ''I knew I had big shoes to fill 'cause it was my first year playing center. I never would have thought I would be in this position after my career.''

''It is a great honor and because of being selected today, my phone has blown up.''

Butler also played for the Steelers as a cornerback from 1951-59, picking off 52 passes, at the time second most in NFL history. But he was best known for his tackling skills.

''They told me I was good. I didn't know I was good,'' Butler said. ''I never, ever, ever thought I would be here.''

The class will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Fawcett Stadium.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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