The Steelers are back in the Super Bowl for the second time in three years, and the third time in six years. That means Keith Butler is too.
Butler is the Steelers’ linebackers coach, and rumored to be in line for a defensive coordinator job or two. But before he began coaching linebackers, Butler was a linebacker for the Seahawks. And a good one, at that. He never led the team in tackles during his 10-season career, but Butler’s 813 career tackles rank No. 2 all-time behind former free safety Eugene Robinson (984).
Because Butler played from 1978-1987, a lot of fans don’t remember him – and some who do have forgotten how good he was. Some, but not all. In the balloting for the 35th Anniversary team, Butler finished a close-but-no-berth third among the outside linebackers with 1,126 votes – behind Chad Brown (2,605) and Rufus Porter (1,383).
In addition to averaging 5.6 tackles during his career with the Seahawks, Butler also did some on-field coaching – and even a little assignment covering – as he helped Fredd Young and Brian Bosworth learn the NFL ropes.
Before the Steelers played the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, I caught up with Butler for this story while working at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Even though he is now a fulltime coach, Butler remained a “dual-team” player, offering, “At some point in time, I do hope the Seahawks win a Super Bowl. I just hope it’s not Super Bowl XL.”
The Steelers did win that game, as well as Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals. Butler’s chance to make it three in as many tries comes Sunday, when the Steelers face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.