Mathew Butler has been laser focused on being a defensive lineman since he was 12 years old.
Now, as he is about to embark on his rookie NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive tackle is soaking up all aspects of the position. Thus, when the Tennessee product toured the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the team earlier this month in Canton, Ohio, the fifth-round pick was focused on finding the defensive lineman in the Hall and, of course, fellow Volunteers.
“I grew up watching football,” Butler recently told reporters. “So, when you see like a D-lineman like [David] ‘Deacon’ Jones, who he played way back when, before I was alive. I know who that is. And when you see the guys who are part of the Fearsome Foursome taming California, that’s great. It’s really inspiring, and nonetheless, you just take it day by day and keep your head down and be the best version of you every day.”
With veterans Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols out to start training camp, Butler has gotten a lot work in training camp and in the preseason. He’s been impressive and he has a chance to play a lot early in his career. The Raiders are high on Butler because he had success at a high level in college, he is mature and he has strong leadership ability.
Butler said he has learned a lot about the NFL thus far, in a short time.
“Every day, I just try to go out there and make the most of every opportunity. Try to pave my work with this team and see how I can contribute to this game as well,” Butler said. “No surprises, but a lot of ‘aha moments’. You’re always trying to learn the game; learn from the best, learn from your coaches. You can even learn from different position groups and leaders on this team. Learn just how to carry yourself day by day and things like that.”
As long as Butler continues to keep his focus, he should be able to help the Raiders this season and for years to come.