Former Washington defensive lineman Dave Butz dies at 72

Defensive end Dave Butz
Dave Butz, seen here in 1975, won a pair of Super Bowls in Washington during his 16 seasons in the NFL. (AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Longtime Washington Commanders defensive lineman Dave Butz died on Friday, the organization announced.

He was 72.

Butz spent 16 seasons in the league, almost all of which were in Washington. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted him first with the No. 5 overall pick in 1973. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 291 pounds, Butz was the largest player in the league at the time.

Butz landed in Washington after spending his first two seasons in St. Louis, though he missed nearly all of the 1974 season with a knee injury.

Butz was named the Defensive Player of the Year in 1983, a season in which he recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks and earned his only Pro Bowl nod. Butz helped lead the franchise to a pair of Super Bowl wins, first in 1982 and again in 1987, before he retired after the 1988 season.

In total, Butz had 64 sacks and a pair of interceptions in his 216 games.

The former Purdue star was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014, and is a member of the Commanders’ Ring of Fame.

“When I think of Dave, I think of all the great plays he’s made for us over the years,” longtime Washington coach Joe Gibbs said when Butz retired, via NBC Sports. “I think of him coming out of the hospital two years ago to play against the New York Jets. He made one of the biggest plays in the game, and then he checked back into the hospital afterward.”