The Indianapolis Colts today agreed to a contract with cornerback Darius Butler.
"Darius is a talented football player that bought in from day one," said General Manager Ryan Grigson. "His athleticism and especially his ball hawk ability were literally evident from his first day of practice. We were fortunate to acquire him when we did because he really provided a spark for us last season. He seized his opportunity and made plays that helped showcase those talents that we had always believed in. We are very happy to have him back with us and see him build off his promising first year as a Colt."
Butler originally signed with the Colts as a free agent on September 25, 2012, and in 11 games (four starts) last year, led the team with a career-high four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He finished tied for third on the team with seven passes defensed to go along with 30 tackles (23 solo), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
In Week 10 at Jacksonville, Butler became only the fourth Colts player since 1984 to record three-or-more takeaways in a single game when he tallied two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble recovery. For his performance, he earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, making him the first Colts cornerback to win the award since Ray Buchanan in 1994. In Week 16 at Kansas City, he notched his second interception return for a touchdown when he picked off Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn and took it back 32 yards for the score.
Butler was originally selected by the New England Patriots in the second round (41st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent the first two years of his career with the team before playing one season for the Carolina Panthers in 2011. For his career, Butler has played in 53 games (18 starts), totaling 120 tackles (104 solo), 30 passes defensed, seven interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Colts sign DT Francois
The Indianapolis Colts today signed unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois.
"Ricky is a quick, aggressive and extremely powerful player," said General Manager Ryan Grigson. "He has been a mainstay the last four years within a dominant NFL defense with a lot of special players. He not only has familiarity with our scheme and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, but he is versatile enough to play any of our defensive line positions. At 26 years old, we feel the arrow is pointing straight up and we're looking forward to him making a big impact for us this coming season."
Last year with the San Francisco 49ers, Jean Francois, 6-3, 295 pounds, played in all 16 games for the third consecutive season and tallied career highs in tackles (51) and sacks (2.0). He capped the regular season registering 21 tackles (13 solo) and 2.0 sacks in the final three games, while adding five stops in team's postseason run to Super Bowl XLVII.
Since being selected by the 49ers in the seventh round (244th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft, Jean Francois has played in 51 regular season games (five starts), totaling 106 tackles (54 solo), 3.0 sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble. In the postseason, he has notched seven tackles (four solo) and one pass defensed in five games played.