The Steelers have announced that defensive coordinator Keith Butler is in the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol and is not expected to be able to coach on Thursday, when Butler would usually speak with the media to break down the following week’s game.
Butler will be replaced by head coach Mike Tomlin for that role. It’s unclear at this point who will call defensive players for the Steelers against the Ravens, but Tomlin normally has significant play-calling input on the defensive side of the ball.
Teryl Austin is the team’s senior defensive assistant coach. Assistant head coach John Mitchell was also a former defensive assistant.
Assistant outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin will likely fill Butler’s role in working with that position group, a duty he carries in addition to his responsibility as defensive coordinator.
Butler will have the opportunity to test out of the protocol, but with just four days until the Steelers face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, that seems unlikely.
The Steelers have not had a coach miss a game due to COVID-19 this season. Then-quarterbacks coach Matt Canada and special teams coordinator Danny Smith missed the game against the Ravens in 2020.