Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler spent time in critical condition earlier this month after having been shot in the back, the unintended victim of a blind drive-by shooting into an apartment window. While the shooters await trial on charges of attempted murder, Butler has been in the hospital recovering.
Until now: Butler was publicly released from OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill. yesterday, per the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. NIU head coach Dave Doeren: on Butler's timetable for a potential return to the gridiron:
“I’m super excited for him and for the team, his family ... He’d been ready to get out of there for about a week” ...As you might expect, the NIU program has rallied to Butler's side, with several players wearing his No. 9 jersey during practice and linebackers coach Tom Matukewicz hosting Butler during the next stage of his recovery. Butler is hopeful of attending NIU's spring game Saturday, though that's not certain yet.
“[He] has got a ton of rehab to do.”
“Our plans are to not have him (next season) because that’s the worst-case scenario,” Doeren said. “Nobody’s focusing on football with him right now. Two weeks ago we didn’t know if he was going to live. The big thing for him right now is not rushing him.”
What is certain is that Butler's release is very good news, and in college football this offseason, we need all of that we can get.