Many have wondered whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers would allow their linebackers coach Keith Butler to interview with the Tennessee Titans to become their next defensive coordinator.
As some of you might remember, the Steelers’ brass blocked Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee’s new head coach, from interviewing Butler to be his defensive coordinator when Whisenhunt was the head coach in Arizona. However, preventing Butler from interviewing with Whisenhunt could be a thing of the past according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In his most recent weekly chat, Bouchette answered the following when he was asked whether or not Pittsburgh’s brass would allow Butler to interview for any vacant defensive coordinator positions:
I’ve been in a meeting but as of late this morning, no one from the Titans had asked permission to talk to him. It is my understanding now that if they do ask permission to talk to Keith Butler, the Steelers will give it to them.
If true, this news could be music to the ears of Whisenhunt and the rest of Tennessee’s organization. Although I am sure that the Titans’ new head coach will interview other coordinators he is familiar with like Ray Horton during the coming weeks, the fact that he could have his best chance to interview an assistant he has pursued since 2007 would be a victory for Whisenhunt.
Two important events would likely occur if Butler is allowed to interview for other jobs around the league during this offseason. First, Dick LeBeau would be the team’s defensive coordinator during the 2014 regular season since the supposed candidate in waiting would be able to explore other career opportunities. In turn, Pittsburgh’s brass would have to find someone else to take over for the soon to be 77-year-old when he eventually calls it quits.
Defensive backs coach Carnell Lake could be a potential candidate, and the team could even try to bring back Horton if he is still on the open market due to his success as a defensive coordinator and his familiarity with Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme. Other former LeBeau disciples like Kevin Greene and Darren Perry of the Green Bay Packers could also be in the running as well if neither Lake nor Horton are hired.
Personally, I hope Butler goes to Tennessee and takes what is a long overdue promotion from Whisenhunt. Pittsburgh’s linebackers coach is certainly no kid (57), and he has been a heir apparent for an assistant coaching job for far too long by NFL standards. If the Steelers are comfortable stringing Butler along, then that’s fine and dandy. I just hope that Pittsburgh has a capable replacement for LeBeau at their disposal if he bolts to Tennessee or elsewhere.
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