Ken Stabler's Legacy Inspires Current Raiders Wide Receiver Brice Butler

Raider Nation lost a legend last week when former quarterback Ken Stabler passed away at the age of 69.

Since his passing, numerous people have told stories detailing the influence that Stabler had on them – both on and off the football field, and you can add wide receiver Brice Butler to the list of a younger generation of players who saw their careers influenced by "The Snake."

Following the news of Stabler's death, the wide receiver took to social media to pay homage to Stabler and show his respect for the legendary quarterback.

IG-Butler.JPG

"I wear it because of the one who did before me!!!!! RIP KENNY STABLER"

"I wear No. 12 for the Raiders and when I was younger he [Stabler] inspired me to wear it," said Butler. "My dad played for 12 years for the [Atlanta] Falcons, so growing up my dad used to always talk about certain teams and the Raiders were one of the teams he used to talk about."

He continued, "I started wearing No. 12 because I was playing quarterback and my dad used to always talk about [the Raiders] and I liked their team. When he was talking about their team, their quarterback, Kenny Stabler wore number 12." 

In addition to his play on the field, Butler also identified with the cool under pressure demeanor that Stabler embodied.

"He commanded the huddle," Butler said. "He gave everybody that confidence. If you watch old NFL Films stuff, he was always making big plays at the end of the game when they needed him the most. For me, ever since I was young, I wanted to be a guy that the team can count on at the end of the game.  Regardless of what sports I played, whatever team, position, whatever. I wanted to be that type of player. Kenny Stabler was that."

Not counting his years in college, Butler has worn No. 12 the entirety of his football career, but now heading into his third year in the NFL, the number means more to him than it has ever before – especially since he's wearing it in Silver and Black.

A look back at quarterback Ken Stabler's career.

"Yeah, especially since I'm playing for the team he played for," Butler said when asked if the number holds more significance for him now. "For me, I really have to give it my all so people can say, ' No. 12 is still alive. 'The Snake' is still out there."

The Raiders open the regular season at home September 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and when Butler runs out of the tunnel at O.co Coliseum, he figures to see countless No. 12 jerseys littering the stands.

That moment in particular he says, will hold special meaning to him and the entirety of Raider Nation.

"It's going to be great, because really it's just going to be that I'm holding the torch now," Butler said. "Now it definitely has a heavier meaning. It has a heavier meaning for the fans as well, but if they can say, 'hey, Brice Butler is holding it down,' it's all going to work out beautifully."

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