Wide receiver Brice Butler joined the Oakland Raiders when they drafted him in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was drafted out of San Diego State University where he’d transferred to for his senior year. Butler was able to start playing immediately rather than redshirting at SDSU as he’d already earned his Bachelor’s degree from University of Southern California. He redshirted in 2008, his first year at USC. His USC career saw 41 receptions for a total of 554 yards and three touchdowns. At SDSU, Butler had 24 receptions for 347 yards and a total of four touchdowns.
Butler played in nine games in his rookie season totaling nine receptions for 103 yards, but it was his performance in the preseason that made Raider Nation sit up and really take notice. In the Raiders first preseason game of 2013, they hosted the Dallas Cowboys. Butler had two rather impressive long catches, one 40 yard catch which he followed up with a diving 30 yard touchdown catch. What was Butler’s response to his impressive plays? Nothing, absolutely nothing. He said, “I don’t try to let it get to me. It’s just one game. I just have to keep working. If I play terrible, nobody will remember last week. I just have to keep working.”
This was exactly the type of response that head coach Dennis Allen was hoping for. Allen said, “Make no mistake about it; he’s been a nice surprise. When you get a seventh round draft pick like that who’s really developed, that’s a good thing to have. But at the same time, I don’t want him reading too much of his press clippings and start feeling too good about himself. He’s still a rookie. He still has a long way to go, but he’s off to a nice start.”
Though Allen thought that Butler was off to a nice start, the rookie did not agree. Butler said, “I honestly don’t think I played that good. Until those couple of plays on that one drive I didn’t feel good about my play at all. I definitely have to work on it. Watching tape there was a lot of stuff I can work on…I definitely just have to build on it.”
Butler faced challenges during his college career and definitely knew firsthand just how quickly a player’s luck can change. In high school back in Georgia, he was a Super Prep All American and went on to USC to have 20 catches and be named to the Pac-10 all freshman team, but the next two years at USC saw his play time dwindle down. He only had 21 catches and that was the point in time that he transferred to SDSU for his senior year where he caught 24 passes.
The struggles that Butler faced throughout college made the moment that he was drafted that much sweeter. Looking back, he says, “It was a blessing to get drafted. It was just great. All the stuff I’ve been through in college for five years, and learning a lot and seeing how God laid it all out for me, it was awesome. Words can’t really explain the feeling. Coming out of high school, I kind of thought I would get drafted higher, but after everything I’ve been through, just to get drafted meant just as much as if I would have been drafted higher. It was a great feeling.”
Butler has football in his blood as his father is Robert Butler who played as a cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons for 12 years. Butler recalls his father giving him tips throughout his early football career, telling him little things like what was going to happen or telling his him what to expect. He said that his father was there for him every step of the way. “Defensively, he tells me what he sees when he watches me run routes or he watches me in the run game,” Butler said, “Offensively, he tells me what I should do to trigger different things from the corner and stuff like that. He’s always been like that with me. When he realized I didn’t want to play corner he has always been there on the side helping.”
Raider Nation didn’t get to see any production out of Butler after week six of the 2013 season, but those flashes he gave the fan base during the preseason went a long way. It’s those preseason flashes that have the fans holding on to the idea that Butler will emerge and be a productive and great receiver for the Silver and Black. Butler himself wanted Raider Nation to know that he is ready to put the work in to contribute to the Raiders. He said, “I’m ready to win. I’m trying to do the best I can to help this team get to the playoffs, have a winning season, and get back to that rich tradition of winning.”