In a plot twist amid a shaky offseason in Pittsburgh, linebackers coach Keith Butler has decided to remain in Pittsburgh, after meeting with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and team president Art Rooney II Monday.
The news leads to speculation as to what, exactly, Butler was given to stay.
Butler received a handshake agreement with the organization in 2009 to become the team’s defensive coordinator when he turned down an offer from then coach Tony Sporano to become Miami’s defensive coordinator. That handshake must have been renewed, and likely with it, a raise.
There is no word on whether he will receive a title change or anything of that nature.
His decision to stay, and the team’s desire to keep him in place, will only raise speculation on the future of current Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. It seems unlikely Lebeau would go public with any desire to retire after the 2012 season, so the decision to keep Butler on staff could be construed as the Steelers passively forcing Lebeau out.
Lebeau’s defense is on the brink of a transformation with the team facing tough decisions on the futures of DE Aaron Smith and NT Casey Hampton. LBs Larry Foote and James Farrior are also coming under question as to their inclusion on the 2012 roster.
However, Pittsburgh had the league’s best scoring defense in 2011, amid multiple injuries and a complete upheaval of the starting lineup from Week 1 to Week 17. The season saw rookie DL Cameron Heyward play extensive snaps – rare for a Steelers rookie defensive lineman – and several young guys playing key roles as the season progressed.
It’ll be interesting to see how this is received; the outcry on the forums here on BTSC about letting Butler go was loud.
(as a sidenote, Graig Clawson was right)
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
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