ALAMEDA – Raiders receiver Brice Butler is a grinder and a positive thinker. Those traits stem from confidence in his work ethic and ability to perform under pressure. And, of course, results.
That’s why the third-year pro doesn’t fret over looming roster cuts. Never has.
He came to Oakland as a seventh-round pick, with no guarantee he would stick around past his first training camp. He didn’t stress. The young wide receiver made a solid first impression – anyone remember the laser he reeled in from Matt McGloin in 2013’s first preseason game? – and rode a productive wave into the regular season.
He did the same thing on the “bubble” last year, with 13 catches for 206 yards and four touchdowns in the preseason. He ended up on the 53-man roster, and caught 21 passes for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Despite career momentum working in his favor, Butler has to prove himself all over again to a new coaching staff. He also has to compete in a vastly upgraded position group that includes Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. With cuts looming and with more quality than quantity of available spots, the pressure would seem to be on. Not for Butler. He just continues to grind.
“I’m taking care of what I have to do individually and for the team to be successful,” Butler said after Friday’s practice. “I don’t worry about the cuts. If you get the call, you’re going to get it. It doesn’t matter how much you think about it beforehand.
If you’re thinking about (roster cuts) or you’re talking about it, it’s going to happen. I don’t think about getting cut. If someone talks about me get cutting and they’re my friend, I don’t talk to them. It’s not something that enters my mind.”
Butler has stepped up again this preseason, earning extra reps that follow solid performance. He has made some spectacular catches in practice, and some quality plays in the preseason opener against St. Louis.
“I visualize things a lot, and picture myself making crazy, insane plays,” Butler said. “If you visualize those things enough, they start to happen.”
Butler works hard to perfect the unordinary and the mundane, and take advantage of every opportunity to make a solid impression.
“Every day you go out there with the intention to play well and do your job well,” Butler said. “If they throw me two passes, I’m going to catch two passes. If it’s zero, I’m going to make sure I’m running routes well and getting open and doing it correctly.”