Matthew Butler Credits VFL Reggie White For Early Football Inspiration

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    VFL Matthew Butler is already off to a hot start in his career. After being drafted in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Butler has been collecting praise from the Las Vegas Raiders for his strong work ethic, tenacity on the field, and professional attitude in the building during training camp.

    Although it is still very early into Butler’s rookie year, the former Volunteer recently pointed to another former Volunteer as someone who has inspired his journey along the way.

    While speaking to the Raiders’ media on Tuesday, Butler was asked about his time visiting the Hall of Fame and that if he had stopped to visit the defensive line section. Butler replied that he did make it a point to stop by that exhibit, but that he also made it a point to check out all of the Tennessee players in the Hall of Fame. Butler’s response then prompted a question about VFL and football legend Reggie White.

    “It was awesome,” Butler said about seeing White’s Hall of Fame bust. “But at the same time, Reggie White – may his soul rest in peace – I saw that guy like every day basically at Tennessee. He’s always been inspiring to me. A great man to his teammates. Everybody said he was a great leader, both at Tennessee and the teams he played for in the NFL. And that’s what I aspire to do. Be a great football player and be a blessing to those around me.”

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    Showing his respect for Reggie White wasn’t the only mention of Tennessee in Butler’s Tuesday press conference, though. Butler also spoke about how the environment at Tennessee helped shape him into the player and person he is with the Raiders.

    “I had an influx of great guys that came in and out of Tennessee,” Butler said. “And, you know, there’s ups and there’s downs. But through the trials and tribulations, we and myself stay headfast. That’s the name of the game. And I hope that not only parlays into my NFL career but my life.”

    With Butler arriving to the Raiders as a rookie, seeking veteran mentorship is a critical part of the early development stages. Luckily for Butler, a recent former Volunteer is in Las Vegas and is doing just that.

    “Kendal Vickers, he’s been a friend of mine since my freshman year at Tennessee,” Butler said. “He’s been great.”

    In his NFL debut at the NFL Hall of Fame game last weekend, VFL Matthew Butler recorded his first tackle in an NFL uniform. With the way that Butler is already progressing and impressing throughout training camp, it shouldn’t be long before those tackles start happening more and more frequently.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.