Chiefs K Harrison Butker Reveals Why He Nearly Quit the NFL

Getty Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine has been a polarizing subject across the world during the pandemic. While NFL players weren’t required to get vaccinated to play football, the league rules were more strenuous for players that chose not to get the jab. But that’s in the rearview mirror now, as the NFL has suspended its COVID-19 protocols for the foreseeable future.

However, if the league had created a vaccine mandate for players, there was one Kansas City Chiefs player that was willing to give up his NFL career: kicker Harrison Butker.

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During a recent interview on the Breakaway podcast with Jon Root, Butker explained his thoughts on giving up football if he was required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For me — I just felt in my situation — I talked to my wife, I was fully okay with stepping away from football,” Butker said. “I’m gonna stick to my principles, I’m not gonna compromise, and if this is my last season then so be it.”

Butker further explained that giving up his NFL career wouldn’t have been the end of the world for him.

“At the end of the day football isn’t life, it’s my job. I love it, I love kicking, I love the Chiefs, I love playing, but I’m a child of God, and I’m a husband and father and that comes before playing football. So If I’m ever doing something that I think goes against those first two things… then I’m prepared to step away and look for another means to provide for the family.”

What if Butker Quit Football?

If the NFL had mandated that all players in the league get vaccinated, which would have prompted Butker to hang up his cleats, that would have been bad news for the Chiefs.

Butker was a seventh-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2017 NFL Draft. Despite being a draft pick, he didn’t do enough to make the active roster the following season in Carolina, which is why the team demoted him to the practice squad on September 15, according to Pro Football Reference. On September 26, Kansas City signed Butker from the Panthers practice squad to its active roster.

During his five seasons in Kansas City, Butker made 146-of-162 field goal attempts (90.1%) during the regular season, marking the second-highest field goal percentage in NFL history (minimum of 100 field goal attempts), just behind Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (91.06%), per Pro Football Reference. He’s also made 15-of-18 field goal attempts in 12 playoff games.

Last season, Butker made field goals in back-to-back postseason games as time expired in regulation to send the Chiefs to overtime. The first was against the Buffalo Bills during the divisional round, the second was against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game.

Butker has been a clutch member of the Chiefs organization since joining the team in 2017.

Twitter Reacts to Butker Interview

Twitter users reacted to Butker’s interview on the Breakaway podcast.

“Harrison Butker is entitled to feel however he wants. He’s a grown up and can make the decisions for himself but there’s no longer a stance to take. These comments would’ve been far more effective at the beginning of the season,” on Twitter user wrote.

“If what Harrison Butker says bothers you, you should probably just delete your account,” another user wrote.

“I’m not sure why Harrison Butker’s comments are such a big deal. He didn’t choose to get Vaccinated, he followed the league’s protocols. He made a choice best for him and his family. Good for him,” another user wrote.


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