The Pittsburgh Steelers have a certain way that they like to have their locker room, and it can be argued that they were prevented from having things the way that they prefer in recent years due to the transcendent abilities of certain star players who disrupted their prior stability.
With those stars now departed, the roster has gotten back more to self-policing, self-indoctrination, and things of that nature, and that has been evident in no case more than that of rookie first-round pick Devin Bush, who has been taken in under the wing of many a defensive veteran to make sure he’s walking the straight line.
It’s not all sunshine and roses, but they all do it in the spirit of the betterment of the team, through self-improvement as well as camaraderie. Said Bush, “of course you’re going to get tough love around here, because they care. They genuinely care. They want success not just for the team, but for you. They’re going to push you. That’s one thing, they’re going to push you”.
While Cameron Heyward is the defensive captain and Joe Haden is the oldest player on the defensive side of the ball (short of Tyson Alualu, from the same draft class), it has instead been Vince Williams who has been most directly responsible for serving as a guide for Bush.
As we wrote about yesterday, Williams made sure that Bush’s locker room was put right next to his. He wanted to be sure that he could be there as much as possible for the man who was largely taking over his starting job.
“He’s very black and white with the information he gives. It either is, or it isn’t, and that’s how he’s going to break it down to you”, Bush told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Williams’ guidance. “It’s just a testament to show what type of team, what type of atmosphere it is around here. He could’ve easily said, ‘I don’t want to deal with that guy, I don’t want to be around him’”.
Now, it’s not as though the Steelers have never had that type of veteran presence. We saw it, albeit largely taking behind the scenes, with James Harrison. The understanding is that he wasn’t very helpful to the young outside linebacker in terms of learning the craft, though he was more than happy to work out with many of them.
During his rookie season, Bush has put up 97 tackles, with one sack, two interceptions, four passes defenses, a forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries. His impact plays have waned as the season has progressed, but for his first year in the league, he has certainly been a significant contributor, building a foundation for better things to come.