OAKLAND, Calif. – (June 14, 2017) – Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack was presented the 2016 professional Butkus Award® in a surprise presentation before teammates here today. The award was presented by its namesake, Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, and his son Matt Butkus.
Mack was named the NFL's 2016 Defensive Player of the Year for the 12-4 Raiders, amassing 73 tackles and 11 sacks, forcing five fumbles and recovering three, and snagging an interception. Mack was a finalist for the professional Butkus Award last year, and finished second in the collegiate category in 2013 while playing for the University of Buffalo.
"Khalil Mack was the most disruptive defender in football in 2016 and possesses the drive, determination and on-field dominance required of a future, first-ballot Hall of Famer. He often was unblockable and was the deciding factor in many Raiders victories last season. He is the definition of what the Butkus Award represents with his rare work habits, preparation and passion for the game," said the Butkus Award selection committee.
Also receiving votes for the Pro Butkus Award: Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys; Von Miller, Denver Broncos; Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks; Whitney Mercilus, Houston Texans. Luke Kuechly won the previous two pro Butkus Awards in 2015 and 2014.
The 2016 collegiate Butkus Award was presented to Reuben Foster of Alabama who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. The 2016 high school Butkus Award went to Dylan Moses of IMG Academy in Florida who is now with the University of Alabama.
The 2017 Butkus Award selection process begins Monday, July 17, with presentation of the collegiate and high school watch lists.
The Butkus Award® began as a collegiate honor in 1985 and is one of the nation's premier college football awards. It was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels of play, while serving as an educational vehicle for the I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of using performance-enhancing drugs. The 51-person Butkus Award® selection committee is comprised of football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists who study football talent yearlong. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at www.thebutkusaward.com.