SI Vault
 
Stepping OUT
Michael Silver
May 19, 1997
After spending his youth in the projects and in leg braces, LeRoy Butler has found fame and fortune as an All-Pro safety with the Packers
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 19, 1997

Stepping Out

After spending his youth in the projects and in leg braces, LeRoy Butler has found fame and fortune as an All-Pro safety with the Packers

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

That's a point that Butler is quick to drive home upon meeting up with Bennett. When Bennett insists that he grew up in a neighborhood almost as rough as Blodgett, Butler is incredulous. "I know you weren't poor," he tells Bennett, "because you bought your food fresh, not when the sell-by date was about to expire." Bennett's comeback: "All through high school and college your name was LEE-roy. Then you made All-Pro in '93 and got the big money, and suddenly it was le-ROY."

Butler laughs, says goodbye to Bennett and heads for the gated country club community where he makes his home. The next day he will fly to Green Bay for a minicamp, and the prospect of returning to Titletown excites him. Butler is one of the most popular Packers, largely because of his tell-it-like-it-is personality. This season he will cohost a weekly television show with two-time league MVP Brett Favre, and with Butler eligible to become a free agent after this season, the Packers are already talking about a lucrative contract extension.

A deer runs by Butler's property as he parks the Range Rover outside his four-car garage. He has bought Eunice and each of his siblings a house, and he spared no expense in building his own home. The 14,000-square-foot house includes six bedrooms, 7½ baths, a gymnasium, a home theater and a screened-in swimming pool surrounded by towering oaks and pines. "I worked with an architect to design this house exactly the way I wanted it," he says, as Lee and their daughters, LóRéal, 3, and Gabrielle, 2, greet him at the front door. (Butler also has another daughter, 11-year-old Sharón Gold-son, who lives with him and Lee.) Next spring he plans to marry Lee, a former Florida State majorette whom he met during his senior year.

"This is a beautiful house," Lee says, "but we argued about it before it was built. I thought it was too much. I'd say, 'You don't need all this to be happy.' He'd say, 'You don't know what it's like to go to school with torn-up shoes and have everyone laugh at you. I always said that when I made it big, I was going to build my dream house.' "

"That's right," Butler says later. "I'm trying to make up for all those years."

1 2 3