Devin Bush had played every single defensive snap over the first five-plus games of the Pittsburgh Steelers season until a second-quarter pass defense knocked him out of Sunday’s win against the Cleveland Browns.
Indications are that was his final snap of the season.
Bush did not return because of an injury to his left knee that appeared to occur on a noncontact play. Though the definitive prognosis was not immediately disclosed, ESPN reported the injury was a torn ACL that will require season-ending surgery.
Coach Mike Tomlin referred to Bush’s knee injury as “significant,” and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker Bud Dupree each offered “prayers” for Bush during their postgame video conference calls with media. Other teammates expressed similar sentiments on social media.
“It just makes you sick when someone, a young player, skilled like that, gets hurt,” Roethlisberger said.
Ben Roethlisberger opens press conference by offering prayers to Devin Bush, which tells you the knee injury is serious.
— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) October 18, 2020
The No. 10 overall pick in the draft last season, Bush has literally never left the field in any situation this year, partly because the Steelers are thin at inside linebacker.
After the offseason release of veteran Mark Barron, the Steelers added no significant reinforcements at the position. Special-teams standout Robert Spillane and 2019 sixth-round pick Ulysees Gilbert III were the lone backups at inside linebacker until converted safety Marcus Allen switched position rooms in August.
Steelers’ LB Devin Bush tore his ACL today and will require season-ending surgery, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2020
Spillane replaced Bush during Sunday’s 38-7 win, finishing with four solo tackles, an assist. One of his tackles was for a loss, another on special teams.
“Devin is a great player, high-effort guy,” Dupree said. “He’s one of the most athletic guys on the team and one of the fastest guys on the team. So any tie you lose somebody like that, it’s a big blow, but Spillane came in, and he communicated well and he did well.”
Spillane was signed by the Steelers during the 2019 offseason after appearing in two games for the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He was cut at the end of last year’s training camp and again cut from the Steelers practice squad three weeks later. But he was brought back last October and ended last season on the Steelers active roster.
The 6-foot-1, 229-pound Spillane was a two-time second-team All-MAC selection at Western Michigan, where he was a teammate of Steelers right tackle Chuks Okorafor.
Big hit Robert Spillane. In for Devin Bush pic.twitter.com/KT8EVkCqqo
— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) October 18, 2020
Gilbert figures to earn a spot on the gameday roster going forward. It was a mild surprise when Spillane began this season ahead of Gilbert on the depth chart.
Bush had a half-sack among his five tackles (two solo) during the first half Sunday. He has 26 tackles this season. The Steelers submitted second- and third-round picks to the Denver Broncos to move up 10 spots in the 2019 draft to select Bush, who was a speedy playmaking college interior linebacker at Michigan.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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