As expected, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed that linebacker Victor Butler won’t be activated this season from the physically unable to perform list. Butler tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament during organized team activities in June. Under the PUP list rules, he was allowed to practice for the past three weeks, but the deadline for returning him to the active roster has now passed.
Butler, 26, said last week that his rehab has been going as well as possible. And Payton agreed with that assessment on Wednesday, saying that it was a positive experience for Butler to be able to spend some time on the practice field with his teammates. But they both knew it was a serious long shot for Butler to return from a torn ACL within just six months. Even recent success stories like Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III took nine months before they returned to action.
Butler remains under contract with the Saints next year after signing a two-year deal as a free agent from the Dallas Cowboys (the second year could have been voided if he had met certain incentives). Assuming he fully recovers from the knee injury, the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder has exciting potential. He had flashed as a dynamic pass-rusher in Dallas, with 11 sacks in four years while playing behind veterans DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. He was expected to compete for a starting role with the Saints after following defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from Dallas to New Orleans.