PITTSBURGH — Most of the time during the team’s organized team activities this spring, Steelers Devin Bush can be found jogging along the edge of the practice fields at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side.
Occasionally, he gets to participate on the field with his teammates during individual periods.
That’s not where the third-year linebacker really wants to be, but after missing the entire second half of the 2020 season with a knee injury, Bush isn’t complaining about what he’s allowed to do.
“It was hard not being able to play football and just being out there with your teammates,” Bush said after Wednesday’s OTA session. “It’s always gonna be hard just to sit back and watch as competitor. But it’s something that I went through and I dealt with and you know, it’s in the past now.”
With his injury in the past, the the present is still not quite back to normal, consisting of mostly marching along with a weighted sled behind him, under the supervision of the team’s training stuff.
“I went 80 yards and it was like 50 pounds,” Bush said. “I’ve progressed. That was like my first time doing that. I actually started doing that with no weight and progressed my way to the weight you see me do, so I’m on track.”
While most of the rest of the team just arrived for the start of OTAs last month, Bush has spent nearly the entire offseason in Pittsburgh, taking as much advantage of the team’s facility as he could within the COVID-19 guidelines .
“I thought it was a good idea to be with the guys, be with the organization,” he said. “They made a big investment on me. … They kind of know where I’m at and know where I should be and they keep a sharp eye on me and and make sure that I can deal with injury from here on out.”
Bush said he’s at about 80 or 90% of pre-injury status right now, and anticipates being back to full strength by the time the team reports to training camp. In the meantime, he taking advantage of every opportunity he gets to go on the field.
“I’m doing a lot of (individual drills),” he said. “A lot of just getting out there, get on the grass and doing reactive things. They hold me out of competition, just because it’s not needed right now. But I’m out there, just going through my progressions, going through my motions, going through my movements and my calls and just getting back to football again.”
Mentally and physically, it’s been a long eight month-journey for the young linebacker, but he’s anticipating the end of this chapter sooner rather than later.
“I’ll be ready.”
Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.