Devon Butler Leaves NIU Program: What The Heck Happened?

The story of Devon Butler, football player-slash-human just keeps adding layers. First he was critically wounded by a gunman, makes a full recovery, then gets stabbed over the weekend during a fight at a party. He survives that, recovers, and then he's off the Northern Illinois football team.

Everything we know: getting shot was not his fault. The police cleared him of any wrongdoing when the gunman fired at him. Let's just remove that from the equation. What's really puzzling is this party. I've read reports that he threw a two-day birthday party (his 21st birthday was Monday, July 23) and posted an open invitation to Twitter. That did not end well.

The way his legacy will officially end is that he requested his release from his scholarship and it was granted. Speculate who pulled the trigger on this decision, but coach Dave Doeren was the driving force behind this happening. After the stabbing, Doeren told Huskiewire, "There's going to be a lot of things we talk about." The conversation probably did not go well.

I don't think Butler did much different than lots of other prospective 21-year-olds. When you turn that age, you can finally legally drink, and you just go insane. Personally I have never understood this. When I turned 21 I went out to dinner with my parents and brought along my friend; then I went back to campus and played cards and board games and video games with some other friends. I didn't drink any alcohol and I haven't since. Never mind the fact that he threw a crazy party two days before he turned 21, which defeated the entire point of the ritual, but again, he's not the first college student guilty of this.

Doeren has had some players get into trouble before, and like many other coaches has handled the issues. For example, Sean Progar got a DUI after their MAC Championship win last year, and as a result did not play in the GoDaddy Bowl. He apparently cleaned up his act enough — so much that he was one of the players accompanying Doeren to MAC Media Day. You make a mistake (a really stupid one). Everybody makes them. But it's how you react and recover from them. Progar has done this. It sounds like Butler has not learned from his mistakes, but down the road you can only hope that he matures.

Moving forward, Butler is an athletic junior but burned his redshirt last year recovering from the gunshot wound. He can transfer, but if he goes to another Bowl Subdivision school would have to sit out a year and have just one season left to play. He could go the FCS or Division II route and play two. He is a very talented middle linebacker. It seems ages ago but he did earn third team All-MAC honors in 2010. It's now up to him to see if a coach will give him that second or third chance.

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