Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush was announced as the 2021 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award on Tuesday.
“It’s one of those one-time things you want to win,” Bush told Steelers.com. “It does feel good to know your peers acknowledge the work you did to play football again, to overcome an adversity you were faced with. That is the good and bad part of it. You just don’t want to have to be injured so that you do win it.”
Since its inception in 1984, the award is given annually to one player on each team who “exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”
Bush was voted the Steelers’ recipient for the courage and strength he demonstrated throughout his recovery from the torn ACL that prematurely ended his 2020 season.
While Bush is back on the field making plays for Pittsburgh, it was not an easy road. One filled with more questions than answers.
“It was tough. It was hard to understand why,” Bush told Steelers.com. “That was the biggest thing for me. I was trying to understand why for a long time. Some things happen for a reason, some are out of your control.”
Not only was Bush struggling physically through the recovery process, but being away from the game put a mental strain on him as well.
“It was tough. 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. 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.”
For Bush, it was his passion for football that gave him strength through the toughest moments of his rehabilitation.
“I just love football,” Bush told Steelers.com. “Getting back to football was a big determination factor for me. It was my first time going through an injury so there was a sense of fear in there as well. The unknown. It was just a whole bunch of collective things knowing I had to get back out there and showcase my talent and be a part of the game again.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin echoed Bush’s affinity for the game.
“He is a football lover. And he can’t hide it,” Tomlin told Steelers.com. “It helps give him a winning edge in terms of facing the adversity that the game presents. He loves every component of the game. He likes practice. He likes walkthrough. He likes film sessions.”
“I think that’s the spirit in which he attacked his rehabilitation and that’s why he’s out there doing some of the things that he’s doing.”
Thus far, Bush has tallied 41 combined tackles, two sacks, two tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his return season.
He was selected by the Steelers with the tenth-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Michigan.