A Butkus in Green Bay, and the Bears Hall of Famer is OK with it

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Chicago Bears fans will probably cringe at the very thought of it, but one of their most famous alums could be sporting some Green Bay Packers gear soon.

Or at least Dick Butkus will own some.

And if you believe his nephew Luke, his uncle might actually wear it.

That's Luke Butkus, 39, whose father, Ron, is the older brother of Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus -- the Chicago-born, University of Illinois educated iconic linebacker who played his entire NFL career for the Bears from 1965 to 1973.

The younger Butkus was hired earlier this month as the Packers’ assistant offensive line coach and was formally introduced Monday along with the rest of first-year head coach Matt LaFleur’s new staff.

And, of course, Butkus knew what was coming.

"I understand I’m going to get hit with this question a lot about my family name and being from Chicago," Butkus said. "It’s warranted. It’s been a great rivalry the entire time. I happen to have a family member that was on the other side. Now I’m on this side. It’s exciting, and if you love the game of football and you’re into football, it’s a pretty cool thing."

Butkus will work under offensive line coach Adam Stenavich, LaFleur’s top choice as offensive line coach. Stenavich, a Wisconsin native who was on the Packers practice squad in 2006, replaced popular longtime line coach James Campen because LaFleur wanted a coach with experience in his version of the West Coast offense -- specifically the outside zone blocking run scheme. Stenavich was previously the 49ers' assistant offensive line coach, where he worked under one of LaFleur’s mentors, Kyle Shanahan. Campen joined the Browns as associate head coach/offensive line coach after 15 seasons with the Packers.

Butkus, who like his uncle played at Illinois, spent the past three seasons as the O-line coach at his alma mater. He previously worked as the assistant offensive line coach of the Jaguars, where he crossed paths with new Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and also served as a quality control assistant for the Seahawks (2010-11), where he worked under line coach Alex Gibbs, one of the foremost experts on zone blocking. Butkus also was on the Bears staff as an offensive assistant/assistant O-line coach from 2007 to '09 after brief stints in the NFL as a player with the Bears (2002) and Chargers (2003).

But it’s in coaching where he’s made a name for himself -- even if that name is synonymous with the Packers’ rival.

"When we brought him in to interview, we were giving him some grief about that," Stenavich said. "We were like, ‘What’s your family going to say?’ But he’s been awesome. I’m really excited to work with him. He’s got the right mindset and obviously a great mindset. Now his family’s going to have a different perspective on this rivalry. It’ll be good."

To answer Stenavich’s question, Butkus said his family was more than OK with it.

Even uncle Dick.

"He was excited for me," Luke Butkus said. "He was excited for the opportunity that I have to be a part of this, being back in the NFL. I think that’s first and foremost. When it comes to that, we make sure we take care of our family. It will be interesting when we play in Chicago and how that will be, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get here, but it’s just an exciting time.

"We made sure that we’re going to send him all the Green Bay Packers gear, too. He was happy for us as a family, the whole family. Not just me but my wife and three young boys and my father and my brothers and sisters. We travel strong, so we’re going to make sure that I get a lot of Green Bay gear for them. I know they’ll have that Chicago Bear gear, too, but those two times a year they better know what to wear."