Speedy Seahawks receiver Deon Butler suffered a serious leg injury in a game at San Francisco in December. But he recovered faster than expected and is one of six active receivers on the roster for Seattle's game Sunday against Baltimore.
The last pass Deon Butler caught was a touchdown.
The next one he catches will be a minor miracle.
Butler was moved to the active roster Tuesday, a simple transaction that is the next step in a remarkable recovery after Butler suffered a serious leg injury 11 months ago.
Butler’s lower right leg was broken in two places last December in San Francisco. The injury, similar to the one suffered by running back Leon Washington, was serious enough that doctors questioned if Butler could resume his NFL career.
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Butler’s recovery has proceeded in a way that’s fitting for someone with his speed: He’s returned faster than many expected.
Butler was chosen in the third round of the 2009 draft, and he started eight games last season. He suffered the injury on Dec. 12, during a game in which he caught five passes to match his career high. Butler caught a touchdown pass with less than two minutes left to play. As he was twisting in the end zone, his lower leg was struck by a defender’s leg. Butler was taken to the Stanford hospital where he underwent surgery, with a rod inserted to stabilize the leg.
He continued to rehabilitate through training camp as he was on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and was therefore ineligible to practice. He remained on the list when the regular season began, meaning he had to sit out the first six weeks before he could begin practicing.
Tuesday was the deadline to activate Butler to have him available for games this season. Rookie Kris Durham — a fourth-round pick — was placed on injured reserve to make room.
Butler played in all 16 games as a rookie, but he really emerged last season, which was a surprise. Coach Pete Carroll has been known to favor bigger receivers, and Butler is 5 feet 10. Butler is, however, one of the fastest Seahawks, timed running 40 yards in 4.38 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.
Butler was a consistently productive receiver for Seattle last season. He started eight of the 13 games he played and caught 36 passes, second-most on the team.
Butler is one of six receivers on the active roster for the Seahawks. Sidney Rice and Mike Williams were both banged up in Sunday’s game at Dallas, according to Carroll, casting question on their status for practice this week.
The Seahawks also made a roster transaction on their defensive line, releasing defensive tackle Al Woods — who was claimed the week before the regular season began — and promoting Pep Levingston from the practice squad. The Seahawks drafted Levingston in the seventh round out of LSU in April.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org