Fans of a certain age will associate the number 65 with a battle-scarred helmet, a constant presence in the trenches, and victory.
Dave Butz was the #5 overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Purdue —a career that later earned him enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame. It wasn’t the Redskins who picked him, however. It was the St. Louis Cardinals.
Fortunately for the Redskins, an error the Cardinals made in the language in Butz’ first contract incredibly made Butz a free agent after just his second year in the league. George Allen quickly snatched him up, much to the chagrin of the Cardinals.
The NFL later ruled that, despite the contract issue that led to a star player becoming a free agent at age 24, the Redskins would have to compensate St. Louis if they wanted Butz. Allen obliged, sending a pair of first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Cardinals.
Butz was worth it.
He was a mainstay for the Redskins for 14 seasons. In his entire time in Washington, he only missed four games. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1983, and a second-team All-Pro pick in 1984. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1980s, and, like many of the players I’ve profiled, he was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins.
Butz played a total of 203 games with the Redskins. He recorded 35.5 sacks, but remember that sacks were only an official statistic for the final seven seasons of his career. He also played on three Super Bowl teams, winning a pair of rings via wins in Super Bowls XVII and XXII.
Fans remember Butz for his quiet intensity and his rock-steady play. He was always a major part of the success that Washington had in the 70s and 80s, particularly during the tenures of Hall of Fame coaches George Allen and Joe Gibbs.
The only other real competition Butz has at #65 is Vince Promuto, a very good offensive guard for the Skins during some of the leaner years of the 1960s. Promuto made a couple of Pro Bowls, playing for Washington for a total of 11 seasons.
Promuto had a fine, productive career, but, with all due respect, I think Dave Butz is a clear winner in the contest for #65.
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Who is the greatest #65 in Redskins history?
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