PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the resignation of longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau Saturday night.
Next up for coach Mike Tomlin is tabbing LeBeau’s replacement.
Linebackers coach Keith Butler has been waiting patiently for the job, turning down a chance to become the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2010 and an opportunity to interview for the same position in Indianapolis two years later.
It’s hard to imagine a franchise that values continuity and stability like the Steelers do going outside of the organization, especially since Butler has been viewed as a coordinator in waiting.
Here is a quick look at Butler, who has been the Steelers’ linebackers coach since 2003:
Butler, a native of Anniston, Alabama, has never lost his southern drawl. He is a straight talker who doesn’t shy away from offering blunt assessments of his players. As with the linebackers he has coached with the Steelers, players will know exactly where they stand with Butler if he becomes Pittsburgh’s next defensive coordinator.
Butler, who turns 59 in May, has helped develop a number of Steelers linebackers, including Larry Foote, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, who was a premier pass-rusher before chronic soft-tissue injuries derailed his career in Pittsburgh.
Pro Football Weekly named Butler its NFL linebackers coach of the year after the 2008 season. Harrison won Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year after recording 16 sacks. He also turned in one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history when he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. Inside linebacker James Farrior recorded 133 tackles and 3.5 sacks and joined Harrison on the All-Pro teams. Woodley added 11.5 sacks in 2008, his first season as a starter in the NFL.
Butler played 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the Seattle Seahawks, and his 813 career tackles rank second in franchise history. Butler, who had been an All-American linebacker at the University of Memphis, started 132 of 146 career games in Seattle. He retired after the 1987 season.
Butler returned to his alma mater in 1990 and coached the linebackers, defensive ends and special teams in eight seasons at Memphis. Butler moved on to Arkansas State in 1998 where he served as the defensive coordinator for one season. He broke into the NFL in 1999 and coached the Cleveland Browns' linebackers for four seasons. Butler joined Bill Cowher’s staff in Pittsburgh in 2003.