Butler pleased to be a Steeler

by - Senior Writer -
Butler is the first Clemson player drafted by the Steelers since Brentson Buckner was a second round selection in 1993.

Crezdon Butler saw the number with the Pittsburgh area code pop up on his phone, so he knew he was about to receive arguably the best news of his life. What he didn’t know was who was calling him.

“I picked up the phone, and this voice said ‘are you busy?’ “Butler said. “I said ‘no sir.’ I had no idea who it was.”

Turns out that is was Pittsburgh Steeler head coach Mike Tomlin, calling in person to deliver the news that the Steelers were ready to make Butler their fifth round pick in the draft.

“He asked me if I was healthy. And then he said ‘How would you like to become a Pittsburgh Steeler?’ I was really at a loss for words. But I said yes and it just went from there,” Butler said. “I talked to him, and I talked to the GM [Kevin Colbert], I talked to [defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau and I talked to the defensive backs coach [Ray Horton]. I talked to everybody it seemed like.

“I didn’t know they were going to pick me right there, but I knew they were interested. They called me after Pro Day and told me I was on their board. I didn’t know how high I was on there, but I had a good feeling it would come down to the fifth round once the third round passed and they started pulling corners. Then they called me, and me and my mom went crazy. It was a good feeling.”

Butler’s step-father, Jonathan Crooks, might have been the happiest of the bunch, however.

“I am happy, but we are probably the same right now,” Butler said. “He has been a Pittsburgh fan his whole life. He was excited, more excited than I was almost. He was at a banquet, and I had to call him and tell him because he didn’t know. He told one of the guys there, and they got up and made an announcement to the whole room.”

Butler said he will report to Pittsburgh this week for mini-camp, will get to come back home for Mother’s Day weekend and then report back to the Steelers on May 14th, and he said he realizes the unique opportunity he has in playing for one of the NFL’s more storied franchises.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet that I am a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Butler said. “Once I get there, it will come quick, but right now it just feels kind of unreal. I have always dreamed of playing in the NFL, and getting the chance to play for one of the great organizations is a dream come true.”

The Pittsburgh coaches told Butler they want to get him there as quickly as possible and get him up-to-speed with LeBeau’s intricate playbook, and he said he understands he has a lot of work to do.

“Coach LeBeau told me that I will get to know him and the DB’s coach really well,” Butler said. “I know I will probably have to start out on special teams and get my feet wet, but that is how I started out at Clemson. I just have to work hard. I love his defensive style – it is like Coach Steele’s in that you attack the offense and make plays on the ball.”

The Steelers have one of the best safeties in the NFL in Troy Polamalu, and Butler said that Polamalu was the first player he thought of when he got the call, and that it’s hard to believe he will be lining up in the same backfield as No. 43.

“It is going to feel great to be out on the field and look back and see him,” Butler said. “He has a lot of leeway to do whatever he wants – he freelances a little bit. I am just ready to go and play with him. That is the definitely the player I thought of when they called. I thought ‘Man, I get to play with one of the best safeties in the NFL.’ It is all just unreal right now.”

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