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May 22, 2011 - Mike McLain
Earlier this week the Browns confirmed that Jerry Butler, who worked in player realtions since the team's return to the NFL in 1999, had been relieved of his duties.
For anyone who knows Butler, the move doesn't make sense. It's not like his job was being eliminated in a cost-cutting measure. The plan is to find a replacement for him.
Butler is a quiet, dignified gentleman. Players across the board that have come and gone and are still on the roster think the world of Butler. There's often more to a story than meets the eye, but I can't imagine a reason why he had to be let go.
This is one of those strange moves that seemingly means nothing concerning the team's on-field performance, but there could be minor negative consequences. Some players that are close to Butler might look at the front office in a different way. They might figure why continue to play hard late in a season gone off track for a team that can be so cold in dealings with employees.
In the long run Butler will find employment elsewhere -- he played for the Buffalo Bills, who might be willing to bring him on board. Players will forget about Butler's firing and play for their job and financial security.
That doesn't make the decision any less strange. One former team employee told me you can't find a nicer person in the building than Jerry Butler.
Good luck, Jerry.
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