It took a lot for Pittsburgh Steelers’ inside linebacker Devin Bush to be on the field and suited up for the season opener in September. He was less than 12 months removed from having torn his ACL, a significant injury that can have a variable timeline of recovery from player to player—and that’s just to get back on the field, not even to be back to your proverbial old self.
Having a major injury like that, especially at an early part of your career as Bush was in his second season, can be as mentally challenging as it is physically, and with the pandemic and corresponding protocols put in place, the isolation factor grew even stronger for him, which he talked about with Teresa Varley for the team’s website, upon receiving the Ed Block Courage Award.
“There were some days I felt like I was just here in Pittsburgh, just someone living here and not like being here for football”, he acknowledged. “The protocols were a tough part of it. There were times I didn’t see my teammates as much. It was tough with everything going on. The isolation sucked really bad”.
“Watching the game from a different perspective was tough. At some points I felt like I wasn’t even on the team. It was just tough”.
There were no COVID-19 vaccines last year, so there were no protocols for players who are vaccinated. Players who were not on the 53-man roster last year had a complicated set of separate rules pertaining to their access to the team, with respect to rehabilitation. It’s no surprise he may have felt at times as if he weren’t even a part of the team.
“It was tough to watch my teammates from the sideline. It was tough to watch from my own house when they were traveling and winning”, Bush conceded. “I had to be strong for myself and for them, as well. I tried my best to stay in high spirits and as involved as I could”.
A first-round pick in 2019, he posted over 100 tackles during his rookie season while recording six takeaways. He only played four and a half games last year prior to his knee injury. While he was ready for the opener, he did miss a game this season due to an unrelated injury.
Through eight games played this season to date, Bush has 41 tackles, including two tackles for loss, with two sacks, four quarterback hits, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pass defensed. He played a season-high 96 percent of the team’s snaps on Sunday, as did Joe Schobert.
The duo only missed three snaps, which Robert Spillane played, in their dime defense, as they played a run-heavy Detroit Lions team—who rushed for over 200 yards against them.