Jack Butler, driven from the NFL in his ninth season by a devastating knee injury while playing for the Steelers at Forbes Field, wanted to make one thing unabashedly clear.
"I loved the game," he said last summer before his August induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I loved playing the game, I liked everything that went with it, the friends, everything, all the action. I liked the [fame], I liked it all. I enjoyed it. I would have done it forever if I could have."
Instead, his career was cut short by a 1959 knee injury so severe it nearly killed him when a staph infection set in. On Saturday, John Bradshaw Butler, one of the Steelers' all-time greats and one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, died at UPMC Shadyside after battling the same staph infection that ended his days on the field.