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Steelers DC Keith Butler Retires After 19 Seasons with Team

Erin WalshJanuary 22, 2022

Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler announced his retirement Saturday.

The 65-year-old became the team's DC in 2015, spending seven seasons in the role. Prior to that, he was the team's linebackers coach for 12 seasons.

Butler said in a statement:

"It is an emotional day as I announce I am retiring from my football coaching career. 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."

Butler spent 10 seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks from 1978 to 1987 before becoming a linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1999. He spent four seasons in Cleveland before becoming Pittsburgh's linebackers coach in 2003.

The Alabama native served as the Steelers' linebackers coach until 2014 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in January 2015. He was a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Steelers—Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.

In 2021, the Steelers had the No. 24-ranked defense in the league in terms of yards allowed and were No. 20 for points allowed. The team's rushing defense was the worst in the NFL, allowing 146.1 yards per game on the ground. However, it did lead the league in sacks.

With Butler now out of the picture, the Steelers will begin a search for a new defensive coordinator. However, the team could promote Teryl Austin instead of going into an in-depth search outside of the organization. Austin has been coaching Pittsburgh's defensive backs since 2019.

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