After former Steelers' offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, was hired as the head coach for the Tennessee Titans, it became a question as to whether the Steelers could afford to keep Keith Butler as their linebacker's coach.
While rumors swirled the NFL that Butler may be on his way to join his friend who he coached with for his first three seasons with the Steelers, Whisenhunt, news surfaced this morning that Butler would stay.
Butler has been an assistant coach in Pittsburgh since 2003 under Dick LeBeau's leadership as a defensive coordinator. It has long been suggested that Keith Butler is the heir to the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive coordinator job once LeBeau retires.
Butler has coached all-pro linebackers such as Joey Porter, James Farrior, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and is highly respected inside and outside of the Steelers' organization. Now that he has been an assistant under the now 76 year old Dick LeBeau for ten seasons, it seems reasonable that Butler would want a chance to mold his own defense to begin his legacy as a coordinator in the NFL.
The move to protect Butler looks to be a positive sign for the future of the Steelers' defense. Butler has now a decade of experience with the Steelers' system and may allow for an easier transition for the defense whenever Dick LeBeau decides retire. Steelers fans, and Butler, have been idly anticipating the opportunity to see how such a transition would impact the team; and whether the reputation of the Steelers' defense would be maintained, improved or reduced.
For better or worse, Steelers fans will be able to wait and watch Butler under LeBeau for at least one more season.