Kevin's Take: Darius Butler's Legacy

 There's nothing sadder in sports than what I saw Saturday on the sideline at Rentschler Field: Darius Butler sat on the training table in pain, staring straight ahead with tear drops slowly dripping down his face.  If you are old enough to remember the 1970's commercial about littering with the Indian crying on the side of the road, that is how powerful Darius Butler's tears were to me.   

A few minutes earlier, Butler injured his left knee blocking on a kickoff.   He is expected to be out 4 to 6 weeks.  So if UConn makes a bowl game, this should give Darius enough time to recover.  But on Saturday, when the trainers led Darius off the field during their biggest game of the season against West Virginia, it seemed like all of the Huskies dreams were carried off the field with him.  

Darius Butler has done everything but park the cars at the "Rent" this fall.   He's been one of the best lock down cover corners in the country.  He's projected as a possible early round pick next spring in the NFL Draft.  His ability to catch passes and return kicks just adds to his draft stock.  We can only hope that Saturday's knee injury won't change any of that. 

In 12 seasons of covering UConn sports, there is only one Husky who has consistently called me by my first name all four of his years in Storrs: Darius Butler.  Maybe that means more to me since I know how lousy I am at remembering names.   But  it says something about Darius Butler.  If only  the average person in Connecticut knew his name.

If Darius Butler played this well at Florida or Texas, he would be a household name.  He is that good.  But this is Connecticut, where Caron Butler will always be more well known and beloved than Darius Butler.  It's not his fault.  Two National Championships in UConn men's basketball will do that, even if Caron didn't have a a hand in either one. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Caron Butler too.  But true Connecticut football fans should love Darius Butler.  He's played a major role in building the UConn program.  He's a four-year starter, a three-way threat, a two-year captain and a one of a kind young man.

I hope the next time I see tears in Darius Butler's eyes, he has just helped UConn win a Bowl game or he has just heard his name called on the first day of the NFL Draft.    

I will always remember the name Darius Butler---the best cornerback in UConn history.  He cornered the market on remembering me.   For that, I give Darius Butler my own one man standing ovation---the one he should have gotten for coming off Rentschler Field for the last time as a Husky.

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