Even if it came across only 10 snaps, Thursday night’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles was an important milestone for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, as Devin Bush made his return to the field after suffering an ACL tear in Week 6 last season.
The preseason contest against the Eagles was Bush’s first in-game action in almost a year, and the third-year linebacker and one of the leaders of the defense relished the chance to get back out there, even for only a few downs.
“We’re good. It’s good to get out there, get a feel for playing football again in a live stadium, just being out there and being with different groups of guys. It was a good experience,” Bush said following the team’s 24-16 win.
The performance wasn’t Bush’s best while getting the start at inside linebacker. He made two tackles, but those came as he allowed two receptions on the only plays where he was targeted, giving up 41 yards to Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
But the importance for the Steelers was getting Bush back on to a non-camp field, and begin getting him ready to wear the green dot and help lead the team’s defense in Week 1. His teammates were just as happy to see him back as he was to get back out there.
“It was great, I love Devin. From the first day I got here, me and him just clicked, and it was great to just be out there with him,” said Steelers edge rusher Melvin Ingram, himself making his team debut Thursday night. “Hearing his communication out there and everything, it was definitely dope.”
Bush stands to get more snaps in either or both of the team’s remaining preseason games, the 21st against the Detroit Lions and 27th against the Carolina Panthers. Following Thursday night’s trade for Jacksonville linebacker Joe Schobert to start alongside him, Bush will need more snaps with his new partner to develop the on-field chemistry that Bush had with former starter Vince Williams.
“I think we’ve still got some work to do. I think we’re in a pretty good spot to do so, but there’s always room for growth,” Bush said.