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Steelers Intriguing 5th-Year LB Robert Spillane Gunning to Overtake Devin Bush for Starting Role

Matt Freed / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers Intriguing 5th-Year LB Robert Spillane Gunning to Overtake Devin Bush for Starting Role

The Pittsburgh Steelers released their initial 2022 depth chart on Friday and there were some intriguing scenarios for a variety of starting positions. The Steelers have yet to name the clear-cut starter for multiple positions in which two players are listed on the first line of the depth chart. One of the positions listed this way was the the left inside linebacker position opposite of LB Myles JackLB’s Devin Bush and Robert Spillane were both listed as the starting LILB.

Could Robert Spillane Take Bush’s Job at the LILB Position for the Steelers in 2022?

Robert Spillane

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (@JSKO_PHOTO, Twitter)

Spillane is just working hard to be the best player he can be at the Steelers 2022 training camp. Spillane came into the league as an undrafted rookie who has battled to get snaps his entire career. Spillane has been fighting for a roster spot since he came into the league as an undrafted rookie out of Western Michigan in 2018. This year may be a tad different, as Spillane is currently battling it out for a starting role on the Steelers defense that has the potential to be one of the very best in the NFL. If he gets the chance, he’s ready for it!

“I feel like I could be down 60 minutes out of the game,” Spillane said via Mike DeFabo and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “A hundred snaps. I never feel like there was a situation too big for me.”

The Steelers are currently rotating Jack, Spillane, and Bush with the first-team defense during training camp in Latrobe.

Steelers Robert Spillane Myles Jack Devin Bush

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (@JSKO_PHOTO, Twitter)

Spillane will let the starting rotation work itself out, he’s just in Latrobe to work as hard as he can!

“At the end of the day, who plays and who doesn’t play is up to the coaching staff,” Spillane continued via the article. “I leave that to them, but I’m going out here working my a** off every day.”

In 2020, the Steelers lost Bush to a season-ending ACL tear and Spillane arrived onto the NFL scene as more than a backup for the first time in his career. Everyone remembers the hit that stonewalled Tennessee Titans “Superhuman” RB Derrick Henry or his pick-6 against the Baltimore Ravens from that 2020 season. Spillane showed flashes that he was capable of playing more snaps.

Last season, Bush was one year removed from that ACL injury and had a down year. Spillane set career highs in tackles and snaps played. He finished the 2021 season with 56 combined tackles. Now, he may be chasing a starting role!

Steelers Calvin Austin III Robert Spillane

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III(#19) and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane (#41) train at Saint Vincent College during the 2022 Steelers training camp on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 in Latrobe, PA. (Taylor Ollason / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin likes that Spillane is a “football junkie.”

“It’s been a nice maturation process for him,” coach Tomlin said via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He has asked good questions. He’s a football guy. He’s a junkie. You start to see that turn up in his play. And I think that’s a reasonable expectation for a guy that has attention to detail and that passion for the game.”

Spillane is doing anything and everything he can to improve his game, including what some would call an unconventional strategy.

“I’m always looking for things to do differently, whether it’s enhancing mobility or upping speed or explosion,” Spillane continued. “I train a lot with my eyes closed. I think spatial awareness is very important, knowing where your body is and being comfortable with it.”


What are yinz thoughts on Spillane getting first-team reps during training camp? Does he have a chance to overtake Bush for the starting inside linebacker role opposite of Jack? Sound off in the comment section below, or on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram!


I'm a lifelong Steelers fan who always has plenty to discuss when it comes to the Black and Gold! #HereWeGo! Check out my Twitter: @CJLester58 #SteelerNation



  1. Dale McGonagle

    August 6, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Unless Bush shows some kind of outstanding improvement from what we last saw, I’d say Spillane already has that position in his pocket.

  2. Chris Mascaro

    August 8, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Spillane plays with heart and determination and Bush has never been the speed LB that he was billed to be. He can’t cover anyone and he’s slow to make tackles. I’d take Spillane right now next to Jack and be happy with that combo.

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