As expected might be the case, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a new defensive coordinator in 2022.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network on Saturday, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler has informed the team that he is retiring. Butler has been with the Steelers for the last 19 seasons. Butler was a part of two Super Bowl winning teams with the Steelers (Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII). The Steelers led the NFL in sacks the last five consecutive seasons under Butler’s guidance. No team recorded more sacks than the Steelers (359) since Butler became defensive coordinator in 2015.
“It is an emotional day as I announce I am retiring from my football coaching career,” said Butler, per the team’s website. “I have spent every year since 1990 as a coach in the NFL and the NCAA, but the time is right for me to walk away after a successful career both playing and coaching the game I love.
“I want to thank the Rooney Family, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin and all the coaches and players that I have been involved with over my entire coaching career. I look forward to spending more time with my family, whom have been so supportive of me throughout the years. I wish nothing but the best to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I will be cheering them on during my retirement.”
Prior to joining the Steelers’ coaching staff in 2003 as the team’s linebackers coach, Butler coached that same position group with the Cleveland Browns from 1999–2002. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2015 after the team decided to move on from Dick LeBeau.
Butler played in the NFL for 10 seasons (1978-87) for the Seattle Seahawks. He then coached at the college level with Memphis (1990-97) and Arkansas State (1998).
It has been speculated for some time now that Butler would likely retire or be retired after the 2021 season. With Butler now out of the picture, it’s likely that the Steelers will promote Teryl Austin to be the team’s new defensive coordinator. Austin has been coaching the Steelers’ defensive backs since 2019.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the possibility of Butler retiring soon during his end-of-season press conference this past Tuesday. Butler was reportedly considering retirement last year, but Tomlin asked him to stay one more season, so he obliged the request. Butler reportedly plans to play quite a bit of golf and watch his grandchildren play sports now that he has retired.
Spoke to Keith Butler. Was considering retirement last year but Mike Tomlin asked him for one more go-round so he returned. Plans to play lots of golf and watch grandchildren play sports.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 22, 2022