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Canadian Football League: Victor Butler Emerging As Crucial Piece In The Toronto Argonauts Defense

The former Beavers star has carved out a solid niche for himself in Toronto.

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Through the first two games of his Canadian Football League (CFL) career, former Oregon State stand-out and current Toronto Argonauts defensive end Victor Butler looks like a spitting image of his old self.

At 29 years old and mostly removed from his chances at the NFL, Butler made the switch to the league in the “Great White North” in February, after sitting out from professional football for over a year. The former NFL-er, who had spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants from 2009-2015, likely needed a fresh start in a new location. Toronto took a chance. It was just the shot that Butler needed.

While his CFL career may still be young, Butler went from journeyman leader to formidable defensive edge-rusher over the course of the preseason for the Argonauts, working his way into the starting defensive front-seven by opening day. In the first game of Toronto’s season, against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Butler was suddenly a new weapon at defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin’s disposal.

Tallying two sacks and forcing a fumble in a 32-15 victory for the Argonauts was the first sign of just what kind of impact Butler could have on the team’s reworked defense. Last season, Toronto struggled mightily to put pressure on quarterbacks and finished the 2016 season as one of the CFL’s worst outfits in overall run defense. Through the first two games of the 2017 campaign, the Argonauts have already plugged a wide-range of holes across the board and are emerging as a potential surprise contenders in the CFL’s East Division. However, they’ll need their defense to improve steadily throughout the course of the 20-week regular season.

Despite a loss in the second outing of Butler’s career against the B.C. Lions, where some in-opportune Toronto’s turnovers in their own territory cost them valuable field position, the Beaver alum found ways to make his presence felt once again, with a controlling performance of four tackles, two sacks and another forced fumble. And with the team under new leadership, specifically from new head coach Marc Trestman, the former Chicago Bears front-man and CFL legend, and Chamblin, Toronto is a franchise who is expected to only develop as the year goes on.

The Argonauts will have to regroup quickly as another tough test awaits them in their next match-up on the gridirion, as on Saturday, July 8th, they’ll travel to Ottawa to take on the reigning Grey Cup champions in the Ottawa Redblacks. The Redblacks are currently 0-1-1 to start the 2017 season, after playing back-to-back games against the Calgary Stampeders, the same team they defeated in last season’s Grey Cup. However, along with Calgary, Ottawa is one of the heavy favorites to make the Grey Cup once again in 2017.