The Pittsburgh Steelers have already declined the fifth-year option on Devin Bush‘s contract this off-season, which will make the linebacker an unrestricted free agent next year. That obviously puts the linebacker in a contract year for this season, where he can either put his career back on the positive trajectory that it was on before it seemed to be derailed by an ACL tear in the 2020 season.
CBS Sports writer, Chris Trapasso listed Bush in the article under the subheading below:
“Players who dipped after playing well early and are now in a prove-it year”
“Bush is one of the most athletically capable linebackers in football. His range at Michigan and 4.43 speed at 5-11 and 234 pounds led to the Steelers trading up to select him at No. 10 overall in the 2019 draft. As an energetic rookie, Bush looked like Pittsburgh’s next elite second-level defender.
But over time, his stellar play close to the line of scrimmage and when attacking downhill was counteracted by shoddy coverage, and a torn ACL in Week 6 of 2020 derailed what mostly looked like a promising start to his pro career. Then in 2021, Bush wasn’t himself. He missed more tackles than ever, was hardly a force in the box and the coverage woes continued. The Steelers didn’t exercise his fifth-year option, thereby making him an impending free agent after the 2022 campaign.”
Trapasso even included Bush in the cover photo for the article. And why not? There isn’t a better candidate to run that headline with than Bush himself, especially since the Steelers spent so much draft capital to move up to get him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In his rookie season with the Steelers, the linebacker tallied 109 combined tackles (72 of those solo tackles), 2 interceptions, 9 tackles for loss, 1 touchdown, 1 forced fumble, 2 QB hits, and 4 fumble recoveries. The stats never tell a complete story, but Steelers fans saw it with their own eyes, the linebacker was all over the field. I mean, he looked like the next great Steelers linebacker, and that statement speaks volumes!
Bush has to get back to form in the 2022 NFL season. He HAS to, or this season could be it for Bush to don the black and gold! The Steelers brought in some help this off-season on the coaching staff that could allow Bush to shine bright like he did in his rookie campaign! The coach that I am referring to, that may be able to “save the day” for Bush is senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores.
Flores spoke about Bush this off-season:
“Devin is obviously very talented. He’s a smart kid,” Flores said. “I’ve had a good rapport and good conversations with him. I’m excited to keep working. This is not something that you talk about on second day of veteran mini camp and then jump on the field in September. It’s something that you build towards and work at daily. He’s doing those things.”
Bush has openly said that he’s much more confident for this upcoming season due to feeling more comfortable with his knee.
“I’m feeling confident, I’m getting back into the groove of things, as in going out there and knowing expectations and getting a chance to go out there with a whole new mindset and just play football again, honestly.”
This season is, as expected, going to be a “make-or-break” year for the Steelers linebacker. And only time will tell if…