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2012 NFL Training Camp: Steelers Look to Benefit from Butler in Punting Game

Signing a punter probably won't make or break the 2012 season for Pittsburgh, but having the added leg of Butler can't hurt either.
Signing a punter probably won't make or break the 2012 season for Pittsburgh, but having the added leg of Butler can't hurt either.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
William RenkenCorrespondent IIIJune 7, 2012

For years, Drew Butler has had to live in the shadow of his father's legacy.

Finally, in 2012, he might get to start his own.

Following the NFL draft, Butler was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers to possibly compete for the job that is now solely in the hands of Jeremy Kapinos after the team parted ways with the injury-plagued Daniel Sepulveda.

But to say Kapinos' job is safe with Butler in camp would be grossly inaccurate.

The son of legendary NFL kicker Kevin Butler, the son of "Butthead" was a punting force at Georgia, where he hoisted All-American honors in 2010 and 2011 and was the Ray Guy Award winner in 2009 as the best punter in the nation.

Stats-wise at Georgia, Butler averaged 45.2 yards on 168 career punts and pinned 60 of those inside the 20-yard line.

In 2011, Kapinos had to come back once Sepulveda went down with a knee injury and managed an average of 45 yards on 34 kicks. Although the Steelers re-signed him to a one-year contract, he will surely feel the pressure from Butler once the rookie gets used to NFL speed.

In his four years at Georgia, he never had a punt blocked, but that was also college. Of course, it's no guarantee that the accolades and the success at the NCAA level will translate to the NFL for any rookie, but with a team guaranteed to be feeling some growing pains early on in its offense, having a strong leg on fourth down could give the defense a longer field to work with.

As a kicker for the Chicago Bears for 10 years, his father was a part of the dominant and infamous '86 Bears and became the all-time leading scorer in franchise history.

That's at least one comparison he won't have to deal with, since the younger Butler will be aiming just outside the end zone versus through the goal posts like his old man did.

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