Some news you’re probably not going to want to hear. It’s seeming more and more likely the Pittsburgh Steelers will retain Keith Butler for at least one more season. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Tomlin met with Butler for their first offseason meeting.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had a productive meeting with DC Keith Butler as part of his post-season sessions with his staff. Nothing official but it wouldn't surprise to see return of Butler, who has one year left on deal.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 9, 2019
The fact he’s meeting with him in preparation for the offseason makes it sound likely Butler will remain on staff for at least one more season. No point in planning with a player you’re going to fire.
And that may signal the end of the Steelers’ coaching staff changes. So far, they’ve dumped Joey Porter and James Saxon. They’re likely to make a slew of personnel changes during the offseason, too.
Butler has served as a source of frustration throughout the year. A defense that couldn’t create turnovers (not all Butler’s fault, to be fair), players not in position to win, and bad gameplans/personnel decisions all made it seem possible, likely really, that the team would make a change.
Now, it seems there won’t be any changes among the coordinators with him or Danny Smith, who many fans want to see replaced.
Loyalty may be a factor here. Butler and Tomlin coached at Arkansas State while Butler is the longest tenured coach on the staff, hired by the team in 2003 to be the linebackers coach. He served in that role until 2015 when he was elevated to defensive coordinator. Contracts might have something else to do with it. Pittsburgh seems focused on getting rid of coaches only when their deals expire, as they did with Saxon and Porter, framed as “non-renewals.” Using either of those reasons as justification to keep a coach is bad logic. Right or wrong, don’t count on there being a new defensive coordinator for the Steelers next year.
If the team makes any more changes to their coaching staff, you’d think those decisions would be made no later than the end of this week. Stay tuned.