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."