The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the 2023 season with only a few guarantees on the offensive side of the ball. It’s a young and rather inexperienced group, but if there is a position which lacks the genuine commodity tag, it would be at wide receiver.
The Steelers have Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, but what do they have after that?
Calvin Austin III who hasn’t played even a preseason snap in his young career?
Gunner Olszewski who is battling for a roster spot?
Myles Boykin who is more of a special teams specialist than a receiver?
Most would say the battle at receiver comes down to just a couple players, and one of those players would be newly acquired Hakeem Butler.
Butler’s story is one which has many twists and turns to it. he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th Round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but didn’t play his rookie season after suffering a broken hand and was released prior to the start of the 2020 season.
In 2020 Butler played in just two games for the Philadelphia Eagles after switching to the tight end position. Since his final stint in the NFL, he played in the Canadian Football League before playing in the XFL this season.
In that season, playing for the St. Louis BattleHawks, he finished the year with 51 catches for 599 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Considering he has a new lease on his NFL life, Butler isn’t about to let this opportunity pass him by. He already notices a clear-cut difference in Pittsburgh, compared to his previous NFL stops.
“It feels like everybody here wants to win, has that will and that want-to,” said Butler. “Whether it’s extra work or the fact that everybody is here and working hard. Coach (Mike) Tomlin leads that train with his demeanor making everything competitive. Everyone wants to win.”
It shouldn’t shock anyone how Tomlin has made an immediate impact on Butler as a player. It is a main reason why players are excited to come to Pittsburgh and be a part of an organization which is run by Tomlin. Butler has been around, and hasn’t seen a coach like him.
“I haven’t seen many coaches like him,” said Butler. “It’s just the way that he is. I love it. He makes everything ultra-competitive. I love the environment.”
Butler loves it in Pittsburgh, but will he be able to create a permanent home for himself in the NFL again? That has yet to be determined, but the stability of the Steelers organization from top-to-bottom might be just what the doctor ordered for someone as talented as Butler.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.