Steelers DC Keith Butler retires: Could a former rival replace him?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are saying goodbye to longtime defensive coordinator Keith Butler. For his replacement, Mike Tomlin should look to a former rival.

The Steelers and Ravens have maintained one of the best rivalries in the NFL this century thanks in large part to their defenses.

So it’s fitting that both teams are undergoing a major shakeup to their defensive staff this offseason.

The Ravens parted ways with defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on Friday. On Saturday, the Steelers confirmed the retirement of defensive coordinator Keith Butler.

What if Pittsburgh used the change in Baltimore to fill their own opening?

Steelers could replace Keith Butler with Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

Martindale’s résumé is strong having played a role in the Raven’s Super Bowl XLVII victory as a linebackers coach. He took over as DC in 2018.

The first three years under Martindale were outstanding on defense with the team ranking in the top 3 in the league in points allowed each season.

In 2021, Baltimore slipped to 19th in the NFL allowing 23 points per game. That was still a spot higher than the Steelers.

Martindale will be one of the most sought-after defensive coordinator candidates out there. Even if things didn’t work out between him and the Ravens, his success as a DC won’t be overlooked.

There are no credible reports linking Martindale to the open Steelers job at this point, but the possibility is an intriguing one.

Martindale was born in Ohio and he has spent most of the last decade in Maryland. Compared to other opportunities out there, relocating to Pittsburgh would be a simple task.

It’ll be a long offseason and more coaching shakeups in the NFL are expected so it may take a while for this one to sort itself out. For now Steelers fans can wonder.

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