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Former Steelers WR Gets NFL Tryout after Strong UFL Season

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler is getting a tryout with the Carolina Panthers after another strong UFL season.

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Pittsburgh Steelers UFL WR Hakeem Butler
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler during training camp at St. Vincent College on Aug. 8, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler is getting an NFL tryout after another successful season of spring pro football, this time in the UFL.

Butler played with the St. Louis BattleHawks for the second consecutive season in 2024, and once again put up big numbers. Butler led the UFL in receiving yards with 652 this spring, and was tied for second with five touchdowns. In St. Louis’ XFL Conference Championship Game loss to San Antonio, he added six more catches for 59 yards. Last season, Butler had 599 yards and eight touchdowns, while St. Louis won an XFL title.

That performance got the former fourth-round NFL draft pick another shot in the league, as the Steelers picked him up and gave him a chance throughout the spring and summer. But he had inconsistency with his hands in training camp, and a preseason injury prematurely ended his chance to stick in Pittsburgh.

This time around, the Carolina Panthers seem keen to take a chance on Butler as they have extended an tryout offer to the UFL star, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Arizona Cardinals selected the 6-foot-5 Butler in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but was released before the 2020 season. Butler joined the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles for brief stints before exiting the NFL altogether. Butler played in two NFL games, failing to record a reception.

In 2022, Butler joined the CFL and played for the Edmonton Elks and British Columbia Lions at different points of the summer before catching on in the XFL in the spring of 2023. The XFL and USFL merged to form the UFL this spring.

The Steelers have not shown any reported interest in any players coming out of the UFL thus far. Two teams, including the San Antonio squad led by former Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr., are still playing in the title game this coming Sunday.

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