#Steelers could lose assistant coach if Whisenhunt gets job

By Gerry Dulac 9 years ago


Former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt interviewed with the Detroit Lions for two hours last night and will meet with the Tennessee Titans today and Cleveland Browns on Saturday about their vacant head-coach positions.

If Whisenhunt gets one of the jobs, and there is a good chance he will, it could affect the Steelers.

There is a good possibility Whisenhunt will try to hire Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler as his defensive coordinator, something he tried to do in 2007 when he left the Steelers to become head coach in Arizona.

However, the Steelers blocked that move by refusing to grant permission for the Cardinals to speak with Butler. At the time, the Steelers indicated to Butler he was the successor to Dick LeBeau as defensive coordinator when LeBeau retires.

Two years ago, Butler turned down a chance to become defensive coordinator in Indianapolis to remain with the Steelers, thinking LeBeau was nearing the end of his coaching career.

But all that has changed.

This time, several sources have indicated Butler would leave the Steelers to become a defensive coordinator if he is offered the opportunity.

And who could blame him?

Butler is 57 and cannot continue to wait for LeBeau, 76, to retire, especially because it doesn’t appear that will happen anytime soon.

Also, Mike Tomlin said several weeks ago there is no succession plan in place in the event LeBeau would retire or be asked to retire, a statement contrary to what had been indicated to Butler several years ago.

The question now is: Would the Steelers be willing to let Butler, who has a year remaining on his contract, interview with another team? Especially if one of them is the Browns, who covet Whisenhunt?

If they don’t, shame on them. They would be standing in the way of a person’s professional development and advancement, a move that would be as selfish as it is unfair.