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Coaches

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Keith Butler
Linebackers Coach
College:
Memphis
Experience:
9

Biography

Keith Butler is in his 11th year as the Steelers’ linebackers coach. He was hired on January 28, 2003, after serving the previous four seasons (1999-2002) as the linebackers’ coach of the Cleveland Browns. Butler remained on the Steelers’ staff following Mike Tomlin’s hiring in January of 2007.

Keith Butler is in his 11th year as the Steelers’ linebackers coach. He was hired on January 28, 2003, after serving the previous four seasons (1999-2002) as the linebackers’ coach of the Cleveland Browns. Butler remained on the Steelers’ staff following Mike Tomlin’s hiring in January of 2007.

 

Butler and Tomlin previously worked together at Memphis in 1996, when Butler coached the linebackers, defensive ends and special teams units, and Tomlin served as the Tigers’ defensive backs coach.

 

Since Butler arrived, he has been instrumental in the development of the Steelers’ highly touted linebacking corps, and he was honored in 2008 when he was named NFL Linebacker Coach of the Year by Pro Football Weekly.

 

Steelers’ linebackers helped guide the defense to the NFL’s number-one ranking in total defense, boasting the team’s top-two tacklers (Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote). Five different linebackers each recorded four or more sacks in 2012 for the first time in team history, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Four different linebackers have recorded four or more sacks in a single season three different times, including twice under Butler’s tutelage (2006-07).

 

Butler guided Timmons to arguably his best overall season in 2012. He led the team in tackles (134), interceptions (3) and tied for the team high in sacks (6.0), becoming the first Steeler to lead the team or tie for the team high in tackles, interceptions and sacks since Joey Porter in 2002. Foote had a bounce-back season in 2012, starting all 16 games for the first time since 2008. His four sacks tied a career high and his 114 tackles were the most he recorded in a single season since 2006.

 

The Steelers have a tradition of fielding some of the best pass-rushing linebackers in the NFL. In 2011, LaMarr Woodley was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month of October by registering a league-high 7.5 sacks, 25 tackles and one interception. Pittsburgh registered 35 sacks in 2011, with 28 accounting at Heinz Field, ranking as the second-most sacks at home (36 in 1996) by a Steelers’ team since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

 

Butler’s guidance helped James Harrison become one of the league’s most elite performers. Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, earned two team MVP awards (2007-08), recorded a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII (the longest play in Super Bowl history) and earned five straight selections to the Pro Bowl (2007-11). Harrison currently holds the team record for sacks in a season, when he recorded a career-high 16 sacks in 2008.

 

Woodley has been a force defensively since he became a starter in 2008. Woodley owns an NFL record for posting two sacks in each of his first four postseason games, and his 52 career sacks in only six seasons are good for the sixth-highest total in franchise history, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Besides Harrison, Woodley is the only player in team history to record 10 or more sacks in a season for three straight years (2008-10).

 

Harrison and Woodley have accounted for two of the top four sack totals by a Steelers’ duo in team history. The two teamed up in 2008 to produce the most sacks in a single-season by a duo (27.5). In 2006, Butler’s linebacking crew helped the Steelers’ defense not allow a 100-yard rusher the entire season, and in 2005 led the AFC and ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense.

 

Prior to joining the Browns’ staff, Butler spent nine years coaching in the college ranks, beginning at his alma mater, Memphis, where he coached linebackers from 1990-97, and also coached defensive ends and special teams (1995-97). He then served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arkansas State in 1998.

 

Butler, 57, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft and played linebacker for 10 seasons (1978-87), all with Seattle. He started 132 of 146 games in his career, and still ranks second on the club’s all-time tackles list with 813.

 

A three-year starter at inside linebacker for Memphis, Butler led the team in tackles his junior and senior seasons. He finished his collegiate career with 384 tackles and seven interceptions. He was named a 1977 Associated Press All-American and played in the 1977 Senior Bowl and Blue-Gray All-Star Game. Butler was born in Anniston, Ala. He and his wife Janet have three sons, Blake, Brandon and Brett.

1990-1994

University of Memphis

Linebackers

1995-1997

University of Memphis

Linebackers/Defensive Ends

& Special Teams

1998

Arkansas State University

Defensive Coordinator

& Linebackers

1999-2002

Cleveland Browns

Linebackers

2003-2013

Pittsburgh Steelers

Linebackers

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