After an outstanding college career at Purdue that eventually landed Putz in the College Football Hall of Fame, the St. Louis Cardinals selected him with the fifth pick for the 1973 NFL Draft. Putz played only two seasons with St. Louis before leaving sharply (a hatred that was simmering throughout his career with Washington, who then played the Cardinal twice a year as competitors for the NFC East). Although Butz was technically a free agent who could sign with any team of his choosing, the NFL rules at the time stipulated that a team that signed a free agent had to compensate their former team. That didn’t bother Washington coach George Allen, who in 1975 paid the Cardinals what was then the largest free agent compensation in NFL history: a first-round pick in 1977 and 1978 as well as a second-round pick in 1978.
Allen called it “one of the best deals I’ve ever made,” even though Putz came to Washington shortly after suffering a serious knee injury and only started 18 of his 42 games in his first three seasons in the capital, but Patz eventually became a dependable presence in the left-footed intervention on Washington’s defensive line, and started all but one of the games for the rest of his career.
Simply massive at 6-foot-7, 300 pounds—he also wore size 12EEEEEE cleats—Putz eventually became a staple in Washington, where his helmet annually shows the scars of trench warfare with his attackers.
Butz-pass-rush skills will present themselves soon as well. In the 1982 strike cut season, Putz tied for second with the team by 4.5 sacks as Washington won their first Super Bowl title, and their defense limited the Miami Dolphins to 16 yards in the second half of Super Bowl XVII. The following year, Butz’s best performance, he scored 11.5 sacks of his career and won the Pro Bowl and All Pro awards for the only time in his career, refuting critics who questioned his supposed lack of midfield.
“If you mean do I have the ability to deflect a quarterback or hit him in the middle of the back while throwing the ball, I have absolutely no problem with that,” Putz said of his methods. “To hit him with 300 pounds, plus another 30 pounds of equipment.
“Because my problem is I’m massive. Once I get there, I’m going to hit him. But if I had to hit that linebacker – and I could get his legs out from under him, or break his legs or something – I wouldn’t. I’d still hit him high.”
“I broke my collar bones, dislocated some of the shoulders in some quarterbacks. In one medium, I heard a broken bone, when [teammate Karl Lorch] and hit him. He was trying to get up and I said: Stay low; You are injured. “
I lost a dear friend today. Dave Putz. Dave Mark Mosley and I used to ride games together. A real cute giant. Rest in peace my friend.
– Joe Theisman (@Theismmann7) 4 November 2022
However, Putz earned a reputation as a shadowy player who was “equal parts serious and sensitive,” as Gary Pomerantz of The Washington Post described it in a 1984 dossier.
“He’s around a lot, but sometimes it’s hard to tell,” Daryl Grant, who lined up with Butz in Washington’s defensive line, told Pomerantz. “I try to stay away from him when I’m not sure about his mood.”
Potts’ 59 jobs ranked her fifth in Washington history.
No one questioned Putz’s toughness after the 1987 game against the New York Jets. Putz was hospitalized with an enterovirus, but checked himself out of Arlington Hospital on the morning of the game. He finished with three tackles and a sack in Washington’s 17-16 win, even though he lost 26 pounds to the virus.
‘was’ is He said After the match, “The first time in 15 years that I weighed under 300.”
Washington won their second Super Bowl that season, and Putz had two run-down 42-10 breakouts for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
In his final season in 1988, Putz played his 197th game for Washington, At that time the franchise record. In an interview with The Post at the time he set the record, he recalled that he was six inches away from landing one of his career interceptions, in 1981 against the Chicago Bears.
“The only good thing is that Walter Payton didn’t catch me,” Putz said of his close result, referring to the return of the legendary bears. “The bad part is that the center did it.”
Putz got the match ball the day he broke the record. It was written, “Six inches is too short.”
“Typical food guru. Problem solver. Devoted beer practitioner. Professional reader. Baconaholic.”