When it comes to the game of football, there are athletes, and then there are football players. While new Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Jon Bostic does have some athletic ability, enough to compete at the mack, make no mistake, he is a football player, and that comes from the bloodlines.
Bostic is a second-generation NFL athlete, his father, bearing the same name, having been a sixth-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in the 1985 NFL Draft. A 5’10” defensive back, he recorded one interception during his three seasons in the league over 29 games, making one starter.
After his son signed with the Indianapolis Colts last year, he spoke to the Indy Star about his background, among other things, and told the paper that his love for the game comes from his upbringing of growing up around the game and around teammates.
Of his father’s nurturing of his career, Bostic said, “he is still tough” as a critic. “That’s how he’s always been. But that’s helped me throughout my career. Through (youth football), I had some tough coaches and in college as well. But all of that has helped me grow as a player each and every year”.
He credits the tough coaching that he has received every step along the way, including Urban Meyer while he was at Florida, for helping him to understand the game as he does today, with the ability to be the signal-caller for a defense, as he was with his one season in Indianapolis a year ago. He should be in the running for that role this year with Pittsburgh.
As tough a critic as his father might have been, however, he stressed education, and even returned to school after he was done playing and got a Ph.D. “To be honest, my dad didn’t really care about football”, he said. “’I don’t care if you play one snap’”, he recalled him saying as he went to college; ‘”I’m sending you there to graduate. If you play, that’s just a bonus. You’re going there to graduate’”.
Bostic is a guy who has been credited as being “high-character” in every facility he has called home going back to his college days, becoming a leader in deed if not in title both on and off the field. That holds true even for his one-year stay in Indianapolis a year ago, where he was brought in to compete but won a starting job.
Injuries and regime changes have really hampered his ability to find a home, however. While he was consistently healthy from high school through the early portions of his NFL career, he has had a hard time avoiding them in recent years. While he said that he was supposed to come off injured reserve late in 2016, he missed that entire year.
While the two-year contract that he signed with Pittsburgh is not likely to be worth a tremendous amount, the Steelers are bringing in a player who should fit in well with his teammates and who has a mind for the game, a combination that is hard to find. He might not be the next James Farrior, but he will be a guy who gets you to pull for him.