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Steelers End Hakeem Butler Experiment after Injury



Steelers WR Hakeem Butler
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler at training camp, Aug. 2, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have waived wide receiver Hakeem Butler with an injury designation, the club announced on Monday, likely ending his season with the team.

Butler was brought in to compete as a depth wide receiver option to compete for the team’s available No. 5 receiver role after a strong spring in the XFL. The 6-foot-5 receiver led the XFL with eight touchdown receptions to go along with 51 catches and 599 yards. Butler played for the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL and ended up as one of the top wide receivers in the entire league.

The Arizona Cardinals selected Butler in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and 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 but failed 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 season.

His time with the Steelers was plagued by repeated drops, and he had fallen far behind the likes of Gunner Olszewski and Miles Boykin in the race for the final roster spots at that position.

The nature of Butler’s injury has not been revealed. He was unexpectedly held out of the team’s second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

In addition to Butler, fellow depth wide receiver option Cody White was also waived with an injury designation on Monday. Rookie Aron Cruickshank was signed to the 90-man roster as a replacement.

Butler will now be subject to waivers, where he will be able to claimed by any NFL team. If he clears waivers, he will revert to the Steelers’ injured reserve list. If he spends the entire season on the IR, Butler will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2024. The Steelers can also release him from the IR with an injury settlement if he is not expected to miss the entire season.

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