San Diego, California - The Chargers have retained the services of one of their team captains and leaders on the field by agreeing to a new multi-year contract with inside linebacker Donald Butler, the team announced today.
“We’re excited to have Donald remain a San Diego Charger,” said General Manager Tom Telesco. “We’ve said all along that we’d like to keep as many of our own players as possible and Donald is a great example of that. He’s a big part of what we are building on defense and he’s not only one of the leaders of our defense on the field, but his teammates voted him a team captain last year showing that he’s also a leader inside the locker room.”
“I’d first like to thank Dean Spanos and the entire Chargers organization for believing in me and giving me this tremendous opportunity,” said Butler. “Staying in San Diego was my goal and I’m really blessed to have this opportunity. We’ve got a very good young defense and I look forward to being a part of it for years to come as we continue to grow and get even better.”
A 2010 third-round draft pick from the University of Washington who was set to become a free agent, Butler comes off a 2013 regular season in which he ranked second on the team in tackles with 99, despite missing three games in late October/early November due to injury. His outstanding play carried over into the playoffs as he paced the team with nine tackles and two tackles for loss, while also making one of the biggest plays of the Chargers’ Jan. 5 Wild Card Playoff win in Cincinnati when he forced a fumble late in the second quarter after the Bengals had driven inside the Chargers’ five yard line.
Butler helped anchor a Chargers defense that played some of its best football late in the season as the Chargers went 4-1 in December en route to making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The defense gave up just 315.8 yards per game in December, sixth-fewest in the NFL. And the Bolts got stingy on the scoreboard too in the final calendar month, giving up just 17.6 points per game, third-fewest in the NFL. The Chargers also were outstanding against the run in December, holding the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders to 92, a season-low 18 and 59 yards rushing, respectively.
Butler missed his rookie season with an Achilles injury but came back to start all 16 games in 2011 and record 102 tackles. He followed up a year later with a 94 tackle season before his 99-tackle season in 2013. Butler also has 5.5 career sacks and three interceptions.
A native of Sacramento, California, Butler will be 25 when the 2014 season kicks off in September.