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Luke Butkus, Bears great’s nephew, hired as Packers assistant coach

Luke Butkus coached at Illinois through last season. | AP Photo/Bradley Leeb

The Packers hired a family member of one of the greatest players in Bears history Thursday.

Luke Butkus, a nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus and recent coach at Illinois, was named assistant offensive line coach after spending the past three years with Lovie Smith’s program in Champaign.

Butkus, 39, was born in Steger and still has family in the area. He played in college for the Fighting Illini and attended training camp with the Bears in 2002. As a center with Illinois, he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and captain of the 2001 team that won the Big Ten championship.

There was also a short-lived professional career that included stints with NFL Europe.

He moved on to start his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 2005 before landing his first professional football job with the Bears as an assistant offensive line coach from 2007-09.

Since leaving the Bears in 2010, Butkus has alternated between college and NFL jobs. He coached with the Seahawks from 2010-11, then returned to Illinois for the 2012 season. He left the program after one year to become an assistant coach for the Jaguars, where he served from 2013-15. Butkus then went back to the Fighting Illini under Smith for the previous three seasons.

The Packers have been remodeling their coaching staff this offseason after naming Matt LaFleur as the replacement for longtime head coach Mike McCarthy. The team also announced the hiring of Rayna Stewart as special teams quality control coach Thursday.