Mike Tomlin, the youngest Super Bowl coach in history, will add to his list of firsts in the 2009 season by keeping his entire coaching staff intact for the third consecutive year.
Linebackers coach Keith Butler turned down a chance to become the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals late last week after speaking to his friend Ken Whisenhunt about the job on the phone after the Steelers granted permission Friday.
By returning to his job with the Steelers, Butler ensured that Tomlin's 2009 staff will look the same as it did in 2008 and '07. Unless something unforeseen happens, the staff of 14 assistants will return for a third season, plus their conditioning coach. No other coaches are known to be candidates elsewhere.
It will be the first time since at least before Chuck Noll became coach in 1969 that an entire Steelers coaching staff will stay together for the first three years under a new head coach. Noll made a few changes through his first two seasons. Bill Cowher kept his staff intact his first two years, then fired three coaches after his second season.
Butler was under contract and the Steelers did not have to grant permission for the Cardinals to talk to him.
Whisenhunt reportedly has hired Billy Davis, a quality control coach on Cowher's early staff with the Steelers, as his defensive coordinator.
The Steelers did make one move, signing defensive end Jordan Reffett to their roster. Reffett, an undrafted rookie from Washington, spent training camp with the Steelers and then two weeks on their practice squad in October. He is 6 feet 4, 292 pounds.