The Pittsburgh Steelers have now officially signed free agent inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year contract and on Monday the team’s newest player met the local media for the first time to answer several questions about his injury history, how he fits in the defense and what his overall skill set includes.
Bostic, who missed the final two regular season games with the Indianapolis Colts last year after suffering a knee sprain in the Week 15 game against the Denver Broncos, made it clear on Monday that his injury didn’t require surgery and that he could have returned for the team’s final contest had he not been placed on the Reserve/Injured list.
“I just got rolled up on,” Bostic said of his knee injury late last season against the Broncos. “At the end of the day, technically I could have came back and played in that last game and I would just miss one game. But they held me out, decided to put me on IR.”
Bostic has missed several other games so far during his NFL career and that includes the entire 2016 season as a member of the Detroit Lions because of a foot injury he suffered during a training camp practice against the Steelers. Even so, he seems to view his injury history as more of him having bad luck than anything else.
“Going all the way back, I mean really before I got hurt, my second year in the league, I had got hurt a couple games. I had to miss a few games, but before then I hadn’t missed a game since my ninth grade year, you know, missed no games in college,” Bostic said of his injury history. “And then obviously I broke my foot and then I got rolled up on last year. But like I said, I would have missed one game and came right back with it. But, you know, I really think all that stuff’s behind me and whatnot. I got back with the trainers that I’ve been with for a long time and they kind of helped me make sure I did stay healthy and whatnot.”
Bostic said Monday that he has plenty of experience playing in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses in addition to calling defenses as well.
“Yes, I played in all of them,” Bostic said. “I was just in a 3-4 last year in Indianapolis, but as you know in this league, it’s pretty much a sub [package] league. You’re playing 75, 85 percent in sub, so it’s a lot more four down [linemen] there. But even in our 3-4 package, we played some under, we played some odd, we played some over. Knowing where your safety is at, the alignment of you defensive lineman and go from there.”
While Bostic is primarily known for his ability to play well against the run so far during his NFL career, he believes he can function well in coverage as well as an every-down inside linebacker in Pittsburgh.
“I was a three down player there [in Indianapolis],” Bostic said Monday. “I never came off the field and then I played the MIKE and WILL position there, which is a little bit different here, but it’s technically the same thing. I did call all the plays, I covered as well. A lot of people don’t really know I can do that much because I played so much Tampa-2 early in my career in Chicago. But that is something that I definitely can do. It’s just I really haven’t had a chance to show that off.”
While many people will suggest that Bostic was signed to replace inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who will miss at least the 2018 season because of the spinal injury he suffered last season, the Steelers newest linebacker doesn’t exactly see it that way.
“I would never say replace,” Bostic said. “I mean he’s a special player and I’m sure he’s definitely going to be back at some point. For me, like I said, all I’m supposed to do is come in here and work hard and whatever they asked me to do, I’m going to do it. Whatever position it is. Like I said, I’m a guy that’s got a lot of versatility, can do a lot of different things. So whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
On the surface, Bostic sounds like he’ll be a good fit with the Steelers.
“At the end of the day it was the best choice for me, the best choice for my family,” said Bostic. “I am ready to come in and compete and help this team any way I can. I like everything from the top down…the ownership, coaches, players that are here, the city. What it means here. The defense. The tradition here. It was just a perfect fit.”
Jon Bostic talks about what his role might be next season and why he signed in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/qC1twbWN4s
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 19, 2018