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Butler announces retirement

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler announced his retirement on Saturday evening in a statement released by the team.

"It is an emotional day as I announce I am retiring from my football coaching career," said Butler. "I have spent every year since 1990 as a coach in the NFL and the NCAA, but the time is right for me to walk away after a successful career both playing and coaching the game I love.

"I want to thank the Rooney Family, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin and all the coaches and players that I have been involved with over my entire coaching career. I look forward to spending more time with my family, whom have been so supportive of me throughout the years. I wish nothing but the best to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I will be cheering them on during my retirement."

Butler served as the team's defensive coordinator since being promoted to that role in January 2015. He had previously served as the team's linebackers coach for 12 seasons from 2003-14. Butler was a part of two Super Bowl winning teams with the Steelers (Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII).

Steelers President Art Rooney II issued a statement thanking Butler for his contributions to the team.

"I want to thank Keith Butler for everything he has done for the Steelers since he was hired in 2003," said Rooney in the statement. "He was a major contributor to some of our top defenses in the NFL during his coaching career. He helped us win two Super Bowls during his tenure, and he guided many All-Pro and Pro Bowl players as both our linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator.

"I wish he and his family all the best in his retirement."

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin also issued a statement on Butler's retirement.

"I appreciate everything Keith Butler did for me personally, and our entire team and coaching staff, during the 15 years I spent with him here in Pittsburgh," said Tomlin in the statement. "Keith and I began our friendship in 1996 at the University of Memphis and have remained close to this day. He helped build some of the greatest defenses in the League during our time together in Pittsburgh, and I am appreciative of his dedication and commitment to making our players better on and off the field.

"I wish Keith and his family all the best in his retirement."

The Steelers led, or tied for the lead, in overall sacks for the last five years under Butler, setting an NFL record in 2020 when they did it a league-high four years in a row.

In 2020 the Steelers broke an NFL record with a streak of 70 games with at least one sack, breaking the record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 69 straight games with at least one sack (1999-2003). The team extended the streak to 75 games, which is still the NFL record.

He came to the Steelers after an NFL coaching career that began with the Cleveland Browns (1999-2002) and before that in the college ranks at Arkansas State (1998) and Memphis (1990-97).

Butler played in the NFL for 10 seasons (1978-87) for the Seattle Seahawks.

Butler was a three-year starter at inside linebacker for the University of Memphis, leading the team in tackles his junior and senior seasons and being named as Associated Press All-American in 1977.

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