New Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler has been part of the organization since 2003 when he was hired by former head coach Bill Cowher to be the team’s linebackers coach. While he’s had several opportunities over the years to leave Pittsburgh to be a defensive coordinator with other teams, he decided to stay instead and wait his turn behind the legendary Dick LeBeau. On Thursday, Butler held his first official press conference with the local media and explained why he turned down those other higher paying defensive coordinator offers to remain with the Steelers.
“Even as a player when I played at Seattle, I went through a couple of strikes and at the time when I went through those strikes, I always talked to a lot of Steelers players at the time and they always didn’t want to be in those strikes because the love of the Rooneys,” said Butler.
“The Rooneys have always really been the premier in the league in terms of trying to win Super Bowls and stuff like that. And to me, if you’re going to coach in this game you want to win Super Bowls, and I’ve always thought this was the best chance for me to win a Super Bowl as a coordinator would be here.”
Butler also said that in addition to liking to work for the Rooneys, head coach Mike Tomlin is a great guy to work for.
“I’ve known Mike for a long time,” said Butler. “We’ve coached together for a while. We coached together when he was a GA at Memphis and he was my secondary coach at Arkansas State. I’ve been wanting to coach with him for a while and I appreciate the opportunity.”
The Steelers wrapped up their final OTA practice of the offseason on Thursday and Butler told the media that he likes what he sees so far out of his unit.
“There’s some things that we did well last year and we got to try to marry number one, the things that we did well last year and maybe some things that we haven’t done before here, and were going to try to do those,” Butler said. “I think we’re getting better at it right now, but we still have a long way to go.”
When asked what specifically what those things are, Butler wouldn’t say.
“I’ll let the Patriots figure that out when we play them,” he said.
Butler did, however, drop a few hints as it relates to changes we might see this year on defense.
“We have a lot of [high] draft choices in that front seven. We have to use those draft choices in those front seven, not only the linebackers but [ends Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt]. Those guys are talented guys. We have to use them, too,” Butler said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“We can’t let them always take up for the linebackers, or try to take people on for the linebackers, we have to let them play football, too. So, hopefully we can employ everybody in this defense, especially the front seven.”
Additionally, Butler said that like LeBeau, he too will be coaching from the sidelines and not from upstairs. He said he did that once before when he was with the Cleveland Browns and that he regretted doing it, because he couldn’t go after one his players who took his helmet off after a fourth down-stop that ultimately cost his team the game, according to Jacob Klinger of pennlive.com.