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Saunders: Devin Bush Comments Misguided, Shortsighted



Devin Bush Steelers

UNITY TWP., Pa. — Devin Bush has not played a lot of good football in the last year or so. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker and former No. 10 overall pick struggled mightily in 2021 after returning from an ACL injury. His first preseason action of 2022 on Saturday wasn’t much more impressive, and he’s been completely unable to separate himself from former undrafted free agent Robert Spillane in a battle to remain a Steelers starter.

Bush chose not to speak to the media through the first two weeks of training camp. Tuesday, he broke that silence, only to prove he has no interest in talking a good game, either.

Bush spoke to reporters, including our Nick Farabaugh, on Tuesday. Asked about his last, best chance with the Steelers, with team declining the fifth-year option on his contract and him facing the distinct possibility of not even starting in his contract year, Bush seemed nonplussed.

“It’s the business,” Bush said. “I mean, I’m gonna still be in the NFL. So, we’ll see.”

If I were Bush, I wouldn’t be so sure. 

The NFL is littered with former first-round picks that don’t make it very far beyond their first contract. The Steelers are certainly familiar with the paradigm. The team declined its fifth-year option for 2013 first-round pick Jarvis Jones. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2017, was cut with an injury settlement, and never set foot in the league again.

Bush’s comments were shortsighted, and almost certainly won’t endear himself to a fanbase that has already started to sour on the former first-round pick. He doesn’t sound like a guy that wants to be in Pittsburgh or a guy that cares what he sounds like.

Bush made negative headlines a year ago for bizarre social media behavior, and then shrugged the whole thing off, so it’s not as if this is a first-time for him in failing to say the right thing.

In the big picture, though, it’s the playing, not the talking that matters. If Bush wants to sound oblivious and entitled, that’s his prerogative. If he plays up to his potential, the Steelers and probably any other NFL team would gladly tolerate it.

If he has too many more seasons like his last, they won’t. Furthermore, the harsh reality of the NFL is that if he doesn’t play well, it wouldn’t have made any difference if he had said all the right things, because in the league, you’ve got to play to get paid.

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