Luke Butkus begins his fourth season with the Packers and his first as offensive line coach, having been promoted to the position on Feb. 1, 2022, following three seasons as assistant offensive line coach.
Starting his 12th season coaching in the NFL, Butkus was initially hired by Head Coach Matt LaFleur on Feb. 7, 2019. Butkus enters his 18th season coaching in either Division I college football or the NFL. He joined the Packers after serving as the offensive line coach for the University of Illinois for three seasons (2016-18), a position he also held for the Fighting Illini in 2012.
Last season, Butkus assisted with an offense that ranked in the top 10 in the league in passing offense (No. 8, 253.8 ypg), total offense (No. 10, 365.6 ypg), scoring offense (No. 10, 26,5 ppg), giveaways (t-No. 1, 13) and time of possession (No. 1, 32:43) despite being without five-time All-Pro T David Bakhtiari (knee) for all but one game. The Packers allowed one or fewer sacks in seven games on the season, tied for No. 8 in the NFL, despite using seven different starting combinations on the line due to injuries. The line protected QB Aaron Rodgers as he threw 38 TD passes with just four INTs for a league-best 111.9 passer rating on his way to being named the NFL's Most Valuable Player by The Associated Press for the second straight season.
In 2020, Butkus worked with an offensive line that helped the Packers rank No. 1 in the NFL in scoring (31.9 ppg), giveaways (team-record 11) and time of possession (32:29), tied for No. 2 in sacks allowed (21), No. 5 in total offense (389.0 ypg) and No. 3 in yards per play (6.29). The line blocked for RB Aaron Jones, who set a single-season franchise mark for yards per carry (league-best 5.49) among players with 200-plus attempts, surpassing FB Jim Taylor's mark of 5.42 yards per carry in 1962. Bakhtiari and C Corey Linsley each earned first-team All-Pro honors from The Associated Press, while Bakhtiari and G/T Elgton Jenkins were both named to the Pro Bowl roster. Jenkins became just the third Packers offensive lineman (Deral Teteak as a rookie in 1952, Charley Brock in his second year in 1940) to make the Pro Bowl in their first two seasons.
In 2019, Butkus helped the offensive line pave the way for Jones to rush for 1,084 yards (4.6 avg.) and 16 TDs, with the TD total tying for the league lead. Butkus assisted in the development of Jenkins, who played in all 16 contests as a rookie and started the final 14 games of the season at left guard. Jenkins was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, just the second Packers guard to be selected since 1974, and helped Green Bay register 18 rushing TDs, the most by the Packers since 2009 (20). With the help of Butkus, Bakhtiari was named to his second Pro Bowl and earned second-team AP All-Pro honors.
In 2018, Butkus coached an offensive line that blocked for the No. 2 rushing attack in the Big Ten (243.0 yards per game, No. 12 in the nation). It was the best average for the Illini since 2010, when they led the conference with an average of 246.1 rushing yards per game. Illinois also ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten (No. 6 in the nation) in yards per carry (5.91 avg.) in 2018, and its 25 rushing TDs tied for No. 5 in the conference.
Butkus tutored OL Nick Allegretti, who developed into a two-time team captain (2017-18) and was twice named All-Big Ten (second-team selection by the media and honorable mention by the coaches in 2018, honorable mention by the coaches and media in 2017). Allegretti played in 47 games, including starts in the final 36 contests of his career, and was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2017, Butkus was in charge of one of the youngest units in the country. The Illini started three true freshmen on the offensive line – Larry Boyd, Vederian Lowe and Alex Palczewski – who combined for 27 starts as Illinois had a program-record 87 cumulative true-freshman starts.
Between the two stints at his alma mater, Butkus was the assistant offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-15). In 2015, Jacksonville's offensive line protected QB Blake Bortles, who finished tied for No. 2 in the NFL with a franchise-record 35 TD passes. Bortles set a team record with an average of 276.8 passing yards per game (No. 9 in the NFL). The Jaguars led the NFL with a franchise-record 80 offensive plays of 20-plus yards.
Butkus served as interim offensive line coach in 2014 and oversaw a unit that helped the Jaguars rank No. 6 in the NFL in yards per carry (4.54), but featured zero players that started for the club in the 2013 season finale. The unit featured two rookie starters – G Brandon Linder and C Luke Bowanko – and only two players who had more than 14 career starts. LT Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, returned to the lineup after missing the final 11 games of his rookie season with an ankle injury. Only Joeckel and LG Zane Beadles started all 16 games for the club. Butkus assisted with an offensive line that had nine different starters during the 2013 season.
Prior to returning to his alma mater in 2012, Butkus spent five seasons working in the NFL, the last two (2010-11) with the Seattle Seahawks as a quality control assistant working with the offensive line. He worked as an offensive assistant/assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears from 2007-09.
Butkus began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon (2005-06), helping the Ducks to appearances in the 2005 Holiday Bowl and the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl.
As a player, Butkus was a three-year starting center for Illinois from 1999-2001, a third-team All-America selection by AP in 2001, a two-time All-Big Ten selection (2000-01) and a captain of the 2001 Big Ten championship team. In 2001, he was part of an offensive line that paved the way for then-school records in total points, points per game and sacks allowed.
Butkus was signed by the Chicago Bears as a rookie free agent in 2002 and spent most of that season on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad. He played two seasons in NFL Europe, for the Rhein Fire in 2003 and the Cologne Centurions in 2004.
A graduate of Bloom Trail (Ill.) High School in suburban Chicago, Butkus is a nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, who played for the Bears from 1965-73. Luke's cousin, Mark Butkus, lettered at Illinois from 1980-83, while his brother, Josh, also graduated from Illinois.
Butkus was born June 26, 1979, in Steger, Ill. He and his wife, Nici, have three sons, Benjamin, Byron and Bear.