Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive coordinator Keith Butler is in the league’s COVID protocols, the team announced Wednesday. It’s unclear if he will be coaching Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, but he will not meet with the media tomorrow in his usual time slot, team spokesman Burt Lauten tweeted out moments ago.
#Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler is in the League’s COVID-19 protocols & will not be available to the media during his normal Thursday time slot. After practice on Thursday, Head Coach Mike Tomlin will be made available as a replacement for defensive questions.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) January 5, 2022
As Lauten tweets, Mike Tomlin will fill in for Butler, instead.
Butler has been with the Steelers since 2003, the year before the team even drafted Ben Roethlisberger. A successful linebackers coach, he bided his team and turned down other job opportunities to remain with the Steelers, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2015, replacing Dick LeBeau.
Butler, 65, signed a one-year deal to return to Pittsburgh for the 2021 season. It’s certainly possible either he retires or the team parts ways with him in the offseason, meaning Butler could miss his final game with the team.
Should the team look for a new DC this offseason, Austin and DL Coach Karl Dunbar are possible internal options.