Steelers

Bush looks encouraging on Day 1

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Devin Bush runs through drills during Day 1 of Steelers rookie minicamp. – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

One thing is clear following Day 1 of Steelers rookie minicampDevin Bush is not here to waste anyone's time.

The Steelers traded up to No. 10 in the 2019 draft to snag Bush, and in this incredibly early evaluation, he's making sure the team sees a return on its investment.

How did that show itself in the first-practice setting today at the Rooney Complex? Take, for starters, the fact he was already calling the defense to a degree. He got his playbook today.

"You just gotta jump into your playbook and be confident," Bush told media members after the practice.

During drills, Bush could be seen waving his hands, pointing, talking with his teammates and coaches. Between reps, he'd chat with inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky. All those little things, the details, the "above and beyond" nature of his skill set, attracted the Steelers to Bush, and now he's walking the walk.

"[I am] just getting out there and being vocal as much as I could," Bush said. "Whether I was right or wrong, just being vocal and trusting what I see."

 

The team expects Bush to fill the need for a speedy, sideline-to-sideline inside linebacker who can also command the defense and rally his troops. It's exactly what the Steelers lost when Ryan Shazier suffered his devastating spinal injury Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati.

Among those watching the Steelers rookies today was Shazier, perched to the side of the practice field and chatting with teammates Terrell EdmundsSteven NelsonMike Hilton and more. While Bush certainly maintained his focus and concentration, he was well aware of the special spectator in attendance.

"I think I did, yeah, I [saw] him," Bush said. "I'm just playing football. I'm not trying to be somebody I'm not and trying to go over and beyond. I'm trying to learn my playbook and do what I gotta do."

Moments after saying those words, Bush and Shazier were sitting together in the team's cafeteria. They weren't talking about their food.

They were going over play diagrams, a point which showcases both Shazier's willingness to help Bush learn and Bush's desire to acclimate as soon as possible to his new crew. And while Bush just got his playbook today, he's already expressing an encouraging amount of comfort with its contents.

"I didn't feel out of whack. I didn't feel out of phase," Bush said. "I just know there were going to be some hiccups here and there. I'm still learning."

If the early signs are any indication – both on and off the field – that learning will happen, and it will happen quickly. Bush recognizes the opportunity in front of him, and he doesn't take it for granted.

"Now I'm a part of the Steelers organization," he said. "I'm a Steeler, and I'm very grateful to be in the position I am."

Bush understands he has plenty to prove. He needs to live up to his pre-draft hype. He needs to validate the Steelers' decision to sacrifice a part of their future in trading up to snag him at No. 10. He needs to fill the void left by Shazier.

But to him, there's a larger-scope form of motivation at hand.

"[I want to prove] why I belong in the NFL," Bush said. "And why I'm going to play here a long time."

HUNTER'S VIEW 

It's Day 1. You don't want to overreact to such a small sample size, but what more could you want from Bush? He's saying and doing the right things, and his early willingness to go above and beyond after practice is an encouraging sign.

The next step for him is to maintain this leadership role once the veterans show up to camp. Will he be as willing to potentially make mistakes with Vince Williams next to him? Will his confidence waver? My bet is that, no, it won't, but that's what Bush must show from here.

Listen to Devin Bush's full post-practice video:

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