Brice Butler: Cardinals receiver room full of ‘hungry’ players
Outside of University of Phoenix Stadium, there’s little optimism about the Arizona Cardinals’ receiver group.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Cardinals 31st of 32 NFL teams in its receiver preseason preview for 2018. Expectations are that running back David Johnson could be the second best receiving threat behind receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and some might stretch to say second-year tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is the third.
Unsurprisingly, Cardinals receivers have more confidence that there’s talent in the room.
“When you got a very extensive coordinator like Mike McCoy and great quarterbacks like we have, there is no limit to what we can do,” free agent signee Brice Butler told Bickley & Marotta Friday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “All of us are hungry players. I’ve been in the league a while but I haven’t felt like I got my fair shake. If I get that opportunity here, I’ll definitely take advantage of it.
“We got guys like Chad (Williams), that second-year player coming from a small school (Grambling State) that’s ready to step up and do his thing as well. We got Greg Little, a guy who’s been out the league a couple years who’s hungry to get back in,” Butler added, listing off rookies Christian Kirk and Trent Sherfield as well. “We got a lot of guys that are hungry.”
Butler might be more hungry than most.
The 28-year-old spent his first two NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders and then played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2015-17. Last season, he posted a career-best 317 yards on just 15 receptions over 13 games. He scored three touchdowns and had 10 first downs on those catches.
Butler was vocal about his desire to be a regular option on his way out of Dallas and now has an opportunity to fight for the No. 2 receiver role alongside Larry Fitzgerald.
After signing a two-year deal with the Cardinals, he’s only thinking about the future ahead, using that hunger to produce more than doubters expect.
“My plans are to catch balls,” Butler said.
Butler on playing with Fitzgerald: “It’s been good man, being able to be in the locker room with Larry. He’s a complete package as an NFL player. He exhausts all his platform on the field and off.
“It’s hard not to like him. Good guy, he practices hard. He’s older but he still takes all the reps that he’s supposed to take. Off the field, I always joke with him, I call him The Mayor, you know, ’cause he can pretty much be the mayor if he wanted to be — or the next president if he wanted to be. I don’t know how America would like a guy with dreads though.”
On fitting in his golf hobby with his new teammates like cornerback Patrick Peterson and Fitzgerald: “I’ve been playing with them a lot. Those guys are a lot better than I thought they were. Obviously, I didn’t live here so I didn’t know how much golf was so much of the culture here, and now I know why those dudes are good. So I’m working on my game. I beat Pat once. Me and Pat are even, Larry has gotten me pretty much every time we’ve played ’cause Larry be trying to — he be sandbagging.”
On going against Peterson in practice: “Me and Pat came out of high school at the same time, played in the All-American game together on the same team, so I’ve been knowing Pat for a while. I think he has to be the best guy as far as shutdown guy in the league. I’ve seen him give dudes fits on the field. Just being able to go against him and see why. You know, he’s a guy that has a lot of different techniques … he can do it all. When you line up against him, you have to be urgent and assertive and know what you’re doing. He wants you to think.
“I’ve had my wins against him but it isn’t easy.”
— Brice Butler (@Brice_Butler) August 1, 2018