LATROBE -- Steelers want-to-be punter Drew Butler may have a âButtheadâ for a father, but he sure hopes to follow his footsteps.
When Drew Butler was born in 1989, his dad already had picked up a Super Bowl ring and a nickname while playing for Mike Ditkaâs wild and crazy Chicago Bears.
Kevin Butler kicked for the Bears, and in his rookie season in 1985, became a Windy City hero by setting an NFL rookie record with 144 points. Drew Butler, a former star Georgia, can only hope he'll have a chance to set a Steelersâ rookie punting record.
âYou have to believe in yourself first, and I definitely believe in myself,â he said. âThatâs why Iâm here. My dream is to punt in the NFL, and Iâm working hard to accomplish it.â
Before this yearâs NFL Draft, Kevin Butler hoped that one of his three former teammates who are now NFL coaches -- Carolinaâs Ron Rivera, Minnesotaâs Leslie Frazier and St. Louisâ Jeff Fisher -- would draft him.
That didnât happen.
But during the seventh round, Drew Butler got a call from Steelersâ special team coach Al Everest. When Kevin Butler was wrapping up his 13-year NFL career with a two-year stint in Arizona, Everest coordinated the Cardinalsâ special teams.
âCoach Everest called me and my agent and told us that coming to Pittsburgh would be a great opportunity,â Butler said. âHe told me that if I came here, I could learn and be around a great organization. I could get into a situation where I could get some reps and just get my foot in the NFL door.â
From the moment the Steelers signed him as an undrafted free agent, he had every intention of competing and beating out incumbent Jeremy Kapinos.
Butler set a Georgia mark with career average of 45.4 yards per kick. In 2009, when he led the nation with an 48.1 average, he earned All-American honors and won the Ray Guy Award as college footballâs best punter.
With Kapinos out, Butler will handle punting duties for the time being and will get a chance to improve his standing Thursday in the preseason opener in Philadelphia.
The Steelers have been somewhat mum about the extent of Kapinosâ condition, but heâs out indefinitely with a back injury.
Kapinos spent time on the Steelersâ roster the past two years when Daniel Sepulveda battled through knee injuries. The Steelers didnât re-sign Sepulveda this year, opting instead on Kapinos, who averaged 45.0 yards per kick last year in the eight games he played.
âFortunately for me, Iâm in a situation where Iâm getting a lot of reps,â Butler said. âJeremyâs injury has been pretty unfortunate for him. But itâs been a good experience for me as I try to get settled in and learn. Iâm just trying to take advantage of the opportunity.
âI donât think any job on this team is handed down,â Butler added. âIâm here to compete. Thatâs what Iâm here to do. Iâll do my best to try and find a spot on this team.â