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Former Steelers WR Gets Ringing Endorsement From Wade Phillips

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Steelers WR Hakeem Butler

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler turned heads in the United Football League with the St. Louis Battlehawks this season. He was named the UFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Friday. Butler had 45 receptions for a league-high 652 yards and five touchdowns.

Following the BattleHawks’ playoff loss to San Antonio on Sunday, Brahmas head coach Wade Phillips told Butler, “I’m going to tell everyone in the NFL that I talk to, you need to be playing. You deserve it.”

Coming from a coach like Phillips, that’s certainly high praise. Phillips, who has been coaching for 55 years, has a slew of connections in the NFL. He most recently was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams (2017-2019) and Denver Broncos (2015-2016).

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Butler made some highlight reel catches at Steelers training camp last season, but he ultimately fizzled out. Inconsistency and drops were big issues. Before the preseason was over, Butler suffered an undisclosed injury, and the team waived him.

Butler is a big-bodied receiver that can high-point the ball and make contested catches. Just check out this grab on Sunday against the Brahmas.

After a banner year with the Battlehawks, Butler should have a number of NFL teams interested in him. Phillips’ endorsement should also be beneficial, as he’s one of the most respected coaches in league circles.

Butler’s 6-foot-5, 227 built could be an asset to a team looking for a big-bodied receiver. Things didn’t work out with the Steelers last season, but it might behoove of Omar Khan and company to give him another shot. Especially given the lack of depth at the receiver position.

Butler almost retired from football after being released by the Edmonton Elks of the CFL in August of 2022, but a Twitter direct message to Battlehawks head coach Anthony Becht gave him another chance. He’s taken advantage of that opportunity with the Battlehawks the last two seasons, and should be granted another crack at the NFL.