A Steelers fan’s perspective on Seahawks free agent signing Devin Bush

The Seattle Seahawks made two free agent signings at the linebacker position this free agent period that couldn't be more different. Bobby Wagner represents a future Hall of Famer returning to Seattle's starting lineup after a year with Los Angeles Ramswhile Devin Bush is looking to get his career back on track after a rough few years with Pittsburgh Steelers.

Seattle should be familiar with Bush, as two of his five career fumble recoveries came against the Seahawks. Now we hope he can recover fumbles for Seattle and resemble the player he was at Michigan.

Earlier this week I asked Behind the Steel Curtain managing editor Jeff Hartman on Bush's time in Pittsburgh, where everything went wrong for him, and whether he has a chance to be a solid contributor in Seattle.

1.) What were Devin Bush's strengths on the Steelers defense before his ACL injury?

Devin Bush is considered an undersized inside linebacker, but he used his speed and athleticism to make him a Top 10 draft pick for the Steelers. After he tore his ACL in his sophomore season, the only thing that separated him from other inside linebackers was what was taken away from him. He didn't have the same burst, lateral quickness and overall quickness from sideline to sideline. What's really sad for Steelers fans was how he was playing before he injured his knee. He settled into the role the Steelers drafted him for, to be able to cover WRs, RBs, TEs in the slot, while being able to flow to the ball with aggression. He never regained those abilities after his injury.

2.) It seems like Steelers fans got frustrated with his play after he returned from injury. Was his wrestling as bad as fans thought it was, and where were his weaknesses most pronounced?

His first year back in the lineup after his injury (2021) was really tough to watch. Bush was engulfed by blockers, taken out of play with ease and showed no real fight in his game. Most fans just chalked it up to him being doubtful after a serious knee injury. Last season, Bush took a step forward, but he never returned to the form fans saw in Year 2 before his injury. It's not like the fans expected him to play like he was never injured, but to at least get a little piece of his game back. It never happened.

3.) Did Devin show any bright spots toward the end of last season that might have sparked some interest in bringing him back to Pittsburgh?

To be completely honest, the answer is no. By the end of the season, everyone knew Bush was going elsewhere. The moment the Steelers didn't pick up his fifth year, it seemed the writing was on the wall Bush was gone. So when he met other teams, no one was surprised. Also, no one was really upset about it either.

4.) How can the Seahawks best unlock Bush's potential, or at least get him to rediscover his rookie season form?

The biggest question has nothing to do with the Seahawks, or their coaching staff. It all comes down to whether Bush is a player fully recovered from his injury and mentally prepared to play the brand of football that earned him a Top 10 draft pick. That answer was “no” in Pittsburgh, but if he can get back to that point in Seattle, he could be a contributor on defense.

Thanks to Jeff for answering these questions, although his answers may not exactly strike a note of optimism for Bush as a starting-caliber linebacker. We have made many medical advances over the decades but not everyone recovers in the same way after a catastrophic injury.

Hey, let's just hope he actually plays, because the last time the Seahawks signed a former Steelers player, it was BJ Finney.

Stay tuned because we'll have another one of these for former Giants safety Julian Love.

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