Devin Bush is making strides as he recovers from a season-ending ACL tear that cost him the latter half of the 2020 season. Earlier Tuesday, he took to Instagram Live to show him running in the pool at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ facility.
Bush tore his ACL in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, missing the rest of the season. Though that hindered the Steelers’ defense the rest of the way, he suffered the injury early enough to put him in the mix to be ready for Week One of the 2021 season. Provided he fully recovers, the Steelers will be happy to get his speed back on the field. After he went down, Pittsburgh struggled with covering backs in the flat. In their loss to Washington Football Team, RB JD McKissic had ten catches for 70 yards. In the Wild Card loss to Cleveland, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for five receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown.
Bush was growing into his own before tearing up his knee. He had become a three-down player and central figure in the defense, wearing the green dot and handling the primary communication. In our recent video review of the season, we noted his improvements in run defense and man coverage.
The question will be who starts next to Bush in 2021. Vince Williams was the starting Buck linebacker in 2020. But he’s a potential cap casualty especially if the cap comes in under $185 million. There’s Robert Spillane, who impressed replacing Bush, and would be a cheaper option for the Steelers. But if they cut Williams to start Spillane, ILB depth becomes thin. Marcus Allen made the transition from SS to ILB last season while Ulysses Gilbert’s III talent hasn’t been able to overcome his recurring back injuries.
Bush is one of three Steelers’ starters to suffer a torn ACL last season. Zach Banner was lost in Week One while Bud Dupree went down in Week 12. Banner and Dupree are both scheduled to be free agents. Banner is expected to return. Dupree is not.