View Full Version : Ex-Seahawk Butler still loves old team, but not vs. Steelers

tony hipchest
01-28-2006, 07:32 PM
Saturday, January 28, 2006

By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Keith Butler was a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks from 1978-87 and remains one of the biggest and most loyal Seahawks fans.

He roots for the Seahawks to win every week and has been rooting for the franchise to win its first Super Bowl for the past 18 years since the day he retired as a player. But Butler won't be rooting for the Seahawks next Sunday when they face the Steelers in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.

That's because Butler is the Steelers' linebackers coach. That doesn't mean he won't have mixed emotions about the game.

"It is very weird to be preparing to beat the Seahawks," Butler said. "It is weird, but it is great, too. After trying to get to the Super Bowl for so long and not getting there and then to finally get there and have to face my old team, that is a little weird for me. But there are really only four people there that I know that are still in the organization. That was a long time ago.

"I loved it out there, I loved life out there -- we made it to the AFC championship game one year, but we never made it to the Super Bowl so I am glad for them. And I definitely want them to win a Super Bowl, but I don't want it to be Super Bowl XL. Hopefully, we'll take the next five Super Bowls and they'll get back again five years from now. I'm glad for them, but I definitely want us to win."

Butler, 49, said most of the people he knows who are still with the Seahawks are in the front office with the exception of quarterback coach Jim Zorn, who was his teammate the early part of his career. He said he has been impressed by Zorn's work with starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck this year and credited that with being a big reason for the team's success.

"Jimmy Zorn is a good friend of mine," Butler said. "He's done a great job and, if you watch their whole offense, they are well-coached. They are sharp, they have no weaknesses; it will be a tough game. I think this will be our biggest challenge in terms of trying to deal with offensive firepower right along there with Indy."

Butler, a native of Anniston, Ala., played college football at Memphis, was the Seahawks' second-round pick in the 1978 NFL draft. That was the third draft for the Seahawks, who entered the NFL in 1976. He became a starter immediately and wound up with 132 starts in a 146-game career. He ranks second on the team's all-time list with 813 tackles.

Butler got a chance to play a role in building the Seahawks into a playoff contender, and that was exciting. They were 9-7 in each of his first two seasons before stumbling to three consecutive losing seasons. They regained winning form in 1983, finishing 9-7 to earn their first playoff berth.

That was Butler's most memorable season because of how far they advanced. Seattle opened the playoffs with a wild-card win against Denver at home, then upset the Dolphins in Miami before falling to the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC championship.

"We went down to Miami and beat them. I'm thinking, 'We're going to the Super Bowl,' " Butler said. "I started getting some rooms lined up because we had beaten the Raiders twice that year. I jumped the gun a little.

"But I didn't learn anything from it because last year, the week before the AFC championship game, I did the same thing and listened to people talking about tickets and all that mess. So this year, I told my wife I don't want to talk to anyone about anything until after the AFC championship game.

"But they have great fans, and I know they are going crazy right now. That year we won down at Miami, we had 10,000 people waiting for us at the airport when we got back."

Butler said he is proud of his accomplishments as a player and because he is recognized as one of the franchise's top defensive players. He believes, however, that there are a lot of other Seahawks who deserve recognition as well.

"With the way free agency is nowadays, I might stay No. 2 in tackles for a long time," he said, then laughed. "I was just fortunate to be with one team for 10 years; it isn't like that these days."

After retiring as a player, Butler returned to Memphis and worked as linebackers coach until 1997. He was named the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 1998, but left after one season to take a job as the linebackers coach of the Cleveland Browns. He joined the Steelers' staff in 2003.

He is intrigued by the fact that the Seahawks, who competed in the AFC West most of their existence (they began as an NFC team, but moved to the AFC after one season), had limited success until they switched to the NFC West for the 2002 season.

"It is very strange to see them in the NFC," Butler said. "I find it funny that it took them to get to the NFC to get to the Super Bowl. That tells you something about the difference in the conferences.

01-28-2006, 07:49 PM
I heard our old kicker Norm Johnson is favoring the seahawks, who he used to play for also.

01-28-2006, 07:51 PM
NORM! !! He was great to watch, and a great kicker for us!! i stillremember him pile driving that kick off returner at TRS a long time ago.

tony hipchest
01-28-2006, 07:59 PM
I heard our old kicker Norm Johnson is favoring the seahawks, who he used to play for also.you didnt hear that from steelermaniac did you? who cares what a f-in kicker thinks?