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Former Steelers Wide Receiver Tearing Up the UFL

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler is leading the UFL in receiving yards through nine weeks.

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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 once again tearing it up in spring pro football. Butler signed with the Steelers last summer after a strong spring in the XFL, and despite not landing an NFL gig last year, he’s making a big splash in the new UFL this spring.

Butler is the UFL’s leading receiver through the first nine weeks of the 10-week regular season, catching 43 passes for 619 yards in his nine games with the St. Louis BattleHawks. He has also caught five touchdown passes. Justin Hall of the Houston Roughnecks is second with 599 receiving yards.

Butler, 28, finished second in receiving yards and led the XFL in touchdown receptions with St. Louis last season. The Steelers signed Butler after the BattleHawks won the XFL title last May.

He spent all of OTAs and training camp with the Steelers, and there seemed to be a realistic hope for the 6-foot-5 Butler to be able to make the team as the club’s fifth wide receiver. But an injury prevented Butler from taking advantage of that opportunity, and he was waived with an injury designation after missing the Steelers’ second preseason game last August.

Steelers WR Hakeem Butler

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler during training camp at St. Vincent College on Aug. 4, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Arizona Cardinals selected Butler in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Iowa State, but was injured his entire rookie year and was released after two games the 2020 season by the Philadelphia Eagles. He also spent time with the Carolina Panthers, but has never played in another regular-season NFL game.

Before finding a home with St. Louis in the XFL/UFL, Butler also spent time with the BC Lions and Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League.

St. Louis is scheduled to wrap up its 2024 UFL regular season on Saturday, June 1, with a home game against the San Antonio Brahmas at 1 p.m on FOX. That game will decide the winner of the UFL’s XFL Conference. The Brahmas are 7-2 and the BattleHawks are 6-3, but St. Louis won the first game between the clubs in April.

Both teams have already qualified for the playoffs, and thus will meet again on June 9 for the XFL Conference playoffs. The winner will advance to the UFL Championship Game, with St. Louis will host on June 16.