Keith Butler (American football)

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Keith Butler
Pittsburgh Steelers
Date of birth: (1956-05-16) May 16, 1956 (age 58)
Place of birth: Anniston, Alabama
Career information
Status: Active (coach)
Position(s): LB
Height: 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight: 230 lb (100 kg)
College: Memphis
NFL Draft: 1978 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36
Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
As coach:
Memphis (LB/DE/ST)
Arkansas State (DC/LB)
Cleveland Browns (LB)
Pittsburgh Steelers (LB)
As player:
1978-1987 Seattle Seahawks
Career highlights and awards
  • 1977 Associated Press All-American
Career stats
Tackles 813 (second on Seahawks alltime list)
Interceptions 8
Sacks 4
Playing stats at

Keith Butler (born May 16, 1956 in Anniston, Alabama) is an American football linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks for 10 years and retired after the 1987 NFL season.

College career[edit]

Butler played college football at the University of Memphis, starting for three years at inside linebacker. He had 384 career tackles and seven interceptions, leading the school in tackles during his junior and senior seasons. Butler was named a 1977 Associated Press All-American in his senior year, playing in the Senior Bowl and the Blue-Gray All-Star Game.[1]

NFL career[edit]

Butler was selected 36th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1978 NFL Draft. He started 132 of 146 games in his 10 year career, and finished with 813 tackles (ranking second on the Seahawks' all-time tackles list).

Coaching career[edit]

Butler began his coaching career at Memphis in 1990, coaching linebackers and later expanding his role to cover defensive ends and special teams by 1997. He was the architect of a surprise 3-4 defensive scheme which led to the U of M's shocking 1996 upset of the #6 Tennessee Volunteers, led by junior quarterback Peyton Manning. He then moved to Arkansas State in 1998 to serve as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

His professional coaching debut came as a linebackers coach for the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999. He was the only assistant coach retained after a staff turnover in 2001, and coached the next two seasons under Butch Davis, mentoring the club's first ever Pro Bowl selection since returning to Cleveland, linebacker Jamir Miller.

Butler moved to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2003, serving as linebackers coach. He has been extremely instrumental in mentoring the development of the Steelers' renowned linebacking corps. His linebacking experience has helped the Steelers consistently lead the NFL in rushing defense, total defense, and sacks. For example, the Steelers have ranked in the top five for total yards allowed in six of the eight seasons Butler has served, and never worse than the top ten. Similarly, the Steelers have ranked in the top five for rushing yards allowed in seven of the eight seasons Butler has served, only ranking twelfth once in 2003.[2]

Butler has been influential in the development of Pro Bowl linebackers Joey Porter, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, and James Harrison. Harrison, in particular, improved from an undrafted practice squad linebacker into the NFL Defensive Player of the Year under Butler's tutelage.[1]

He is considered a leading candidate to take over the Steelers' defensive coordinator position when Dick Lebeau retires, due to his experience in coaching Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense.[3]


Butler has been married since 1980 to the former Janet Sedberry of Memphis, TN. Together they have three adult sons, Blake, Brandon, and Brett. Both Blake and Brandon played college football, with Blake playing offensive line for the University of Memphis from 2002 until 2006, and Brandon playing linebacker and defensive end for the University of Akron from 2003 until 2006, and later at Ashland University during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.


External links[edit]