Former Falcon Bobby Butler earns degree from Florida State 37 years after leaving for NFL

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Thirty-seven years after leaving Florida State to become an eventual first-round draft pick and spend 12 years playing professional football, Bobby Butler felt he still had something important to accomplish.

Butler decided to return to Florida State University and finish the degree he began before leaving school early to pursue his NFL dreams.

On Saturday, Butler accomplished that goal and left Tallahassee, the place where he had starred as one of the best cornerbacks in college football nearly four decades ago, as a graduate.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done, to be honest with you," Butler told the Tallahassee Democrat of the experience.

"At this stage in life, you realize your life doesn't stop for you to go to school. I never thought I'd get here. But two years later, here I am.

"It has been hard but gratifying, too."

Butler was selected by the Falcons in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He started all 16 games in his first season with Atlanta, snagging a career-high five interceptions. The reliable defensive back spent all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Falcons, and he retired with 27 interceptions, the sixth-most in franchise history.

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