Mon. May 29th, 2023

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Former Washington defensive lineman Dave Butz, who played 16 seasons in the NFL, died at the age of 72, the franchise announced on Friday. Butz spent 14 of his 16 years in the NFL with Washington from 1975-88. Over that stretch, he helped the franchise to two Super Bowl titles (XVII, XXII) and became one of its all-time greats. 

The 6-foot-8, 295-pound behemoth played 203 games for Washington and is fifth on the team’s all-time sack list with 59. He was also named an All-Pro twice and is part of the 1980s All-Decade Team. Butz is one of the franchise’s 90 Greatest Players and was also placed in the Ring of Fame at FedEx Field. 

At the time of his retirement in 1989, Butz was the oldest starting player in the NFL. 

Butz, born in Alabama, was raised in Illinois and was a two-time All-American. He went on to play his college ball at Purdue where he was a First Team All-Big Ten selection, was named to Purdue’s All-Time Football Team, and was eventually elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Butz initially came into the NFL as the No. 5 overall pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. He spent just two seasons with the franchise before signing on with Washington. That arrival to the DMV area came thanks to an unusual circumstance regarding his rookie contract that resulted in NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle ultimately ruling that Butz was a free agent. However, Washington was required to send compensation to the Cardinals after signing Butz, sending two first-round picks and a second-round pick to St. Louis. A hefty price, but one that gave Washington one of their greatest players of all time.

In 216 career regular-season games (191 starts), Butz totaled 64 sacks, two interceptions, and seven fumble recoveries. 

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