Saints will not take Victor Butler off PUP this year, Payton says

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON– New Orleans Saints linebacker Victor Butler (90) practices at the Saints Training Facility earlier in 2013.

The Saints will not bring linebacker Victor Butler up to the active roster this season, coach Sean Payton said Wednesday. Butler, who badly injured his knee in June, will be designated as reserve/physically unable to perform.

Payton said Butler’s rehab has gone well, and he credited the player for working hard. But the team decided it was best for the linebacker’s health to not be activated.

“It’s having the confidence it’s not too soon,” Payton, in part, said. “It’ll help him when he’s fully healthy for (next year’s) minicamp and (organized team activities).”

Butler, who came to New Orleans this past offseason from Dallas via free agency, landed on the PUP list after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament at an OTA. He never got off PUP but returned to practice on a very limited basis on Nov. 19, the last day which he could do so to still have a chance at being activated this year.

Per NFL rules, the Saints then had three weeks to decide whether they wanted to activate him.

“I was working my tail off, and it just came to the point of, ‘Will it be ready to actually put on pads and play football?'” Butler remarked Wednesday. “And I think, sitting down with everybody, we decided it’d be … best … not to (be activated) right away.

“It doesn’t reflect on the job we did on rehab. I think it shows great patience and faith from the organization.”