Former Steelers WR Gets Shot With Panthers.


PiTTSBURGH — Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hakeem Butler lit up the UFL this season and his work didn’t go unnoticed to NFL franchises as they look to finalized 90-man rosters before the start of training camp next month.


Butler’s stardom in the UFL this past spring means that his time with the Steelers won’t be his last shot at making it in the NFL. According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Butler will workout with the Carolina Panthers before they wrap up Organized Team Activities and break for the summer before training camp begins in July.

In Carolina, Butler will try to prove that he’s capable of being an asset for second-year quarterback Bryce Young and he’ll be reunited with one of his former teammates, Diontae Johnson, whom the Steelers dealt to the Panthers earlier this offseason.

Butler was recently honored as the UFL’s Offensive Player of the Year after catching 45 passes for 652 yards and 5 touchdowns for the St. Louis Battlehawks. He led the league in yards per reception (14.5), ranked second in touchdown catches, and fourth in receptions. Butler was also one of only two UFL receivers to achieve multiple 100-yard receiving games.

Butler was a record-setting player at Iowa State, and the Arizona Cardinals selected the 6’5″ athlete in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. However, an injury derailed his rookie season, and he subsequently moved between practice squads with the Cardinals, Panthers, and Eagles before spending two seasons in the Canadian Football League.

In 2023, Butler had an outstanding year with the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL, recording 51 receptions for 599 yards and 8 touchdowns, reminiscent of his dominant college performance. This earned him a training camp opportunity with the Steelers, but more injuries led to his release.

Despite these setbacks, Butler excelled in his second stint with the Battlehawks, potentially paving his way back to the NFL. His size has always intrigued NFL teams, but inconsistencies, drops, and health issues held him back with the Steelers. Now, Butler has a rare second chance to prove he belongs at the highest level of professional football.

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