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Ask The Steelers: Drew Butler Part 1

Posted Jul 4, 2013

Steelers.com brings you the Ask the Steelers feature. Fans submitted the questions that were asked. Please understand that we receive an incredible number of questions for each player, with many of the questions being similar, and not all of the questions can be answered. We selected as many as possible, and took your questions to the current subject to get your answers.

Punter Drew Butler Part 1

From Greg Taylor:
As you wait for the ball to be snapped for a punt, what is going through your mind?
Drew Butler: It’s like pre-shot routine in golf. You take a practice swing, you take a deep breath and you pick out your target where you are going to kick it on the field. Then instinct takes over. The total operation time from snap to kick is about two seconds, so it all happens really quickly. That is why you practice throughout the week, so when you get to game time it’s just having fun, catching the ball and kicking it. It all happens in a blink of an eye, but it’s definitely a rush.

From Lance McGovern: All punters have had one blocked. What is that feeling like when you hear the thud knowing a defender got the ball?
Drew Butler: It’s tough. You take a lot of personal responsibility for it. You are hoping they don’t score off of it. If you are in a position on the field where your defense can hold them to three points or get the ball back, that’s a lot better of a feeling. Unfortunately I have had one blocked. It’s tough. That was my welcome to the NFL moment. It did affect the outcome of the game when we played the Titans last year. You are always working week in and week out to prevent that from happening.

From Daniel Potter: Is it intimidating when a defender is coming at your full throttle trying to block a punt?
Drew Butler: It’s intimidating, but it all happens so fast. That is why we practice throughout the week. When we get such good looks in practice, the same things happen. You have to trust your operation that the snap and the protection are going to be there. You have to do your job.

From Grace Young: What goes through your mind when you are the last line of defense to prevent a punt return for a touchdown?
Drew Butler: I better tackle him. It’s tough. You are playing against world class athletes every week. Luckily with a team like the Steelers everybody takes a lot of responsibility when that happens. If you can’t tackle him, you just want to funnel him back inside and let one of the guys who are retreating come and tackle him. When you are going against some of the fastest guys in the world on the football field you might be out matched, but you give it your all and hope you can get him on the ground before he scores a touchdown.

From J.T. Madison: What are the keys to the proper hold for a field goal or extra point? What do you have to do to make sure you get the ball right?
Drew Butler: Whatever the kicker wants. When I first came here Shaun Suisham liked the ball held differently, but I felt more comfortable holding it for him like that. With a snapper like Greg Warren he helps make my job holding the football so much easier. They taught me a lot last year and our operation was pretty smooth. I have to give them a lot of credit for guiding me and helping me out my first season. 

From Rick Turner: At what point do you start to get loose on the sidelines, knowing you might have to punt?
Drew Butler: I like to keep myself loose throughout the entire game, but when it’s second down or third and long you are going to hit a couple of balls into the net on the sideline. Then you take some mental reps when you are walking out onto the field. You have to be ready the entire game because all of a sudden changes happen in the game.

From Chuck Wallace: What have you learned from your father, kicker Kevin Butler, about the NFL?
Drew Butler: I have learned it’s a true business. The special team’s positions demand a lot of consistency. That is with anything in life. Being able to come to the Steelers and work on your craft week in and week out, and have positive people around you helping you work on your craft and achieve your goals is definitely a great environment to be in. At the end of the day it’s about winning, being consistent and performing. Those three things embody what the NFL is all about.

From Bruce Reese: What was it like as a kid to have a father who was an NFL player?
Drew Butler: It was really cool. It was a huge privilege to be raised by my parents. Living in Chicago until 2000 and seeing a lot of Bears games were cool. I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people that work in the league still today and fortunate enough to have my dad’s guidance throughout my career thus far. I am thankful for it and hope I can continue to do them proud.

From Kevin Glase: How old were you when you first started playing football and would you encourage young kids to play the game?
Drew Butler: I was 15 years old. It was my sophomore year in high school. I was a huge golfer and soccer player. I would recommend that kids play at a young age. It teaches you so much about life. It’s really a great way to get involved, become active and fall in love with the best sport in the world.

From Gina Riggs: Is there added pressure on you being the son of a former NFL player?
Drew Butler: There might have been some when I was younger trying to break into college. Once you start to make a name for yourself at the collegiate level some of those things take a back seat. There was a little bit of added pressure, but nothing that takes away from the daily routine.

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