In his rookie season, Devin Bush looked every bit of the player the Steelers took with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, a torn ACL in a 38-7 win over Cleveland ended his 2020 campaign. And last season, Bush couldn’t seem to recapture much of the ability he put on display throughout his first season. And while modern science has made knee injuries far less detrimental to many players long-term, it clearly affected some of the most important parts of his game.
But despite the complications, among them being the Steelers declining the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, Bush has been pushing himself throughout the offseason and into OTAs in order to get back into form. On Wednesday, he spoke about how his recovery process has significantly changed from a year ago to now.
“Yeah, I was cleared. But I wasn’t like this around camp last year,” Bush told 93.7 The Fan Wednesday. “I remember I was still learning how to land. I was training in the offseason, and I was jumping off boxes, learning how to land and everything like that. I went home, and I was able to go out and do those things early. I’m not catching up no more.”
It’s important to recognize that not everyone is going to take the same amount of time to heal. It was clear last season that Bush may have not been fully confident that his surgically repaired knee was going to hold up through 17 games. He would probably be the first one to tell you just how significant of an issue that can be, especially at the middle linebacker position. But it is a positive sign to hear Bush say that he’s not catching up anymore when it comes to the rehabilitation. Now, he can get back to focusing on what made him successful as a rookie. And while some may say he’s got everything to prove in his fourth season, Bush is looking past that notion.
“I don’t think I got nothing to prove for real because I’m a first rounder. I’m a top 10 pick, and that’s never gonna change,” he said. “I don’t think I gotta prove anything to anybody, I think more so, I just gotta go out there and play football.”
It’s obvious that Bush doesn’t want to stack the pressure on himself, especially in early June. But in many ways, this very well could be a make-or-break year for the former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year from Michigan. Both him and the Steelers can only be optimistic about the premise of him reminding everyone of the type of player he’s capable of being.