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Pending Steelers Free Agent Devin Bush Hints He’d Like to Play Elsewhere



Steelers ILB Devin Bush

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Devin Bush is just a few months from hitting free agency for the first time in his NFL career, unless he signs a new contract with the Steelers before then.

Based on his social media post from Saturday night, that does not appear to be where his focus is.

Bush tweeted “Playing for a former NFL player…” on Saturday night during the Wild Card playoff game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars, coached by former NFL quarterback Doug Pederson, came back to beat the Chargers, 31-30 after trailing 27-0 earlier in the game. The Jaguars were still badly losing when Bush Tweeted his thought.

The Steelers traded up to get Bush in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but the relationship rapidly deteriorated after a strong rookie season. Bush suffered an ACL injury in 2020 that he struggled to recover from. Meanwhile, he drew criticism from outside and within the organization before the 2021 season for insensitive social media posts.

The Steelers declined the fifth-year option on Bush’s contract this past offseason. At training camp, when asked about the prospect of possibly playing his last season for the Steelers, Bush seemed non-plussed by the notion.

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

The Steelers put significant effort into getting Bush into a better place in 2022. The signing of free agent inside linebacker and NFL veteran Myles Jack was done at least in part to try to provide a leader for the position group. The Steelers also hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to work with their linebackers.

The early results for Bush showed improvement, particularly in the passing game. But Bush also showed an increased willingness to engage blockers and stop the run.

RELATED: Say Less, Do More: Devin Bush Quietly Building Strong Season

But by the end of the season, that had vanished. Faced with the prospect of back-to-back run heavy teams down the stretch, Bush played just 10 snaps over the final two weeks of the season, even with Jack nursing a groin injury.

Both backup Robert Spillane and sixth-round rookie Mark Robinson appeared to have passed Bush in the pecking order, though Mike Tomlin said it was matchup-related and not necessarily all about Bush’s play.

Still, it seems clear at this point that the Steelers will probably look in a different direction to man their inside linebacker positions in 2023, and Bush seems focused elsewhere, as well.

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