Bush Learning on Fly as Rookie Minicamp Begins

Steelers first-round pick and other rookies get first taste of NFL practice

Josh Rowntree
May 10, 2019 - 2:06 pm
Steelers LB Devin Bush at rookie minicamp in May, 2019

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Devin Bush is confident he can get down the Steelers’ playbook. 

In fact, there isn’t much that Bush isn’t confident in when it comes to football. 

Nor should there be. The Steelers’ first-round pick took the field at the team’s South Side practice facility Friday for the first time as a member of Pittsburgh’s organization. 

“It was fun just being out there, getting back in football mode, getting to know the players and being around football guys,” Bush said. “It’s football again, so I’m happy to be back.

“It felt great. Now I’m a part of the Steelers organization. I’m a Steeler. I’m very grateful to be in this position right now.”

Bush was out there for day one of the team’s rookie minicamp, which  will last through the weekend. 

First and second-year players comprise the roster rookie minicamp, which provides the first look for players in a Steelers practice uniform. 

“I’m playing for a great organization, around around a bunch of great talent, people you can learn off of,” Bush said. “I have quite a bit to learn. I need to learn how to speak the language of the defense and get comfortable with learning plays.”

The big question, already, is how long it will take the tenth overall selection in this year’s NFL draft to assimilate to the playbook.

“It depends on how much work I put in off the field, in the meeting room and at home,” Bush said. “I know concepts, I understand the defense we’re trying to run, but I’ve got to learn the language.”

Bush was, already, leading the defense during team drills Friday.

“Just getting out there, being vocal, as much as I could,” he said of his approach. “Whether I was right or wrong, just being vocal and trusting what I see. 

“I didn’t feel out of whack or out of place, I just knew that there would be some hiccups. I’m still learning.”

Bush is wearing number 55, a number that, unlike other rookies, he will definitely be keeping when the season begins.

“It fit good on me, I liked it,” Bush said. “I know Joey Porter wore it, a great linebacker here. I always wanted to wear number ten (his college number at Michigan), so you add five and five and you get ten. 

“Derrick Brooks was probably the biggest person I looked up to wearing 55. So I hope to carry on the legacy.”

Bush has another legacy to fill, that of Ryan Shazier, who was on-hand to watch the minicamp take place. Shazier will not play in 2019 as he continues rehabilitation from a spine injury.

“Yeah, I saw him,” Bush said. “I’m just playing football. I’m not trying to be somebody I’m not. I’m just trying to learn my playbook and do what I’ve got to do.”

Despite the fact that Pittsburgh traded up to select Bush, it is probably unfair to put those lofty expectations on him from the start. But he knows he has something to prove. 

“Why I belong here, why I belong in the NFL and why I’m going to play here for a long time,” he said.

Bush believes that he’ll be able to figure out how to run the defense. When the team gets together, collectively, for OTAs starting on May 21, Bush will look to carry that confidence onto a field with veterans. 

“If you lack confidence, you’re going to talk yourself out of a lot of things and you’re not going to be able to accomplish things if you think you can’t,” he said. “Having confidence gives you motivation to keep going through.”

His new teammates are already believers, it seems, Just ask a former rival from Michigan State, Steelers third-round pick Justin Layne. 

“Bush is Bush, man,” said Layne, who praised Bush’s on-field leadership. “I mean, he’s a dog. I’m not worried about him.”

Hear all of what Steelers LB Devin Bush had to say below.