In a surprise decision Bills offensive lineman Brad Butler informed the Bills organization that he is retiring from professional football, the team announced this afternoon.
Butler provided a prepared statement that read as follows.
"I would like to thank Mr. Wilson, my teammates and the entire Bills Nation for giving me the opportunity to represent the Buffalo Bills for the past four years. Playing in the National Football League has been a tremendous opportunity and a great blessing. However, my passion for education, country and community is something that I am ready to devote my full attention to. I believe the best way to pursue these spheres of interest is to step away from the game of football at this point in my life."
Butler, who was a government major in college at the University of Virginia, has always been interested in the political process as evidenced by his recent internship two years ago under the late Jack Kemp.
A former fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2006, Butler developed into a three-year starter, and made the challenging move from guard to tackle last season. Starting at right tackle his 2009 campaign was cut short by a season-ending ACL injury in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.
Butler made 31 starts in his Bills career.
"We respect Brad's decision to pursue the next chapter in his life," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "He has tremendous character and a very bright future in whatever career path he now chooses and we wish him all the best."
The loss of Butler to retirement leaves the Bills thin at the offensive tackle position, already viewed as a position that Buffalo is expected to fortify this offseason.
Butler closed his prepared statement thanking the fans and the community.
"I will always remember my time spent in Western New York with great affection. I wish my teammates and Bills fans the best of luck next season and into the future."