CHAMPAIGN - After a three-year hiatus to the NFL, Luke Butkus officially is returning to Illinois as offensive line coach.
Butkus, who played for the Illini from 1997-2001 and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, served on Tim Beckman's original Illini staff in 2012 but left to serve as the assistant offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he spent the last three season.
Butkus is the first official hire by new Illini coach Lovie Smith. Butkus served as assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears under Smith from 2007-09.
"The Butkus name is associated with the University of Illinois and the game of football as a sign of excellence and toughness," Smith said. "I'm very proud to be able to announce Luke Butkus as the first member of our coaching staff as coach of the offensive line. I've known Luke since he was on our staff with the Chicago Bears, and have followed his career since. He relates extremely well to the players he coaches and will play an important role in the growth of our program."