Offseason Program

'I'll be ready'

On a night of unanticipated haymakers it might have been the backbreaker, if not the knockout punch.

Third-and-2 from the Cleveland 28-yard line, with 14:24 left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers having closed from 28-0 down to within 35-23 last Jan. 10 in the AFC Playoffs at Heinz Field.

The Browns huddle with three tight ends, a running back and a wide receiver populating the skill positions, so the Steelers keep their base defense on the field.

But before the ball is snapped running back Kareem Hunt empties a spread formation and motions out to the right sideline.

That leaves Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane lined up opposite wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the slot.

Landry breaks inside 2 yards into his route and then almost immediately reverses field and heads outside and away from Spillane along the 30.

After catching a short pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield, Landry gets to the boundary, turns up field and eventually runs out of bounds after a 17-yard gain to the 45.

Three plays later the Browns find the end zone again and the rout is back on in what eventually becomes a 48-37, season-ending loss for the Steelers.

Spillane assessed the play as one he's capable of making but didn't in that instance after re-signing with the Steelers this offseason.

The player Spillane was replacing in the Steelers' lineup back in January, Devin Bush, was adamant it's one he can and will make when called upon when the subject came up on Zoom following today's OTA.

The question: Devin, when you're as healthy as you want to be and playing as well as you want to play can you cover Jarvis Landry in the slot?"

Bush's answer: "Yes, 100 percent."

Bush still has some ground to cover before he'll get such a chance again after having his season ended when he suffered a knee injury last Oct. 18 against Cleveland.

But he characterized himself as about "80, 90 percent" in his ongoing rehabilitation in advance of Mandatory Veteran Minicamp next week.

"I'll be ready once (training camp) camp rolls around," Bush added.

It's been a grueling road back at times.

Bush was noticeable last week during OTAs repeatedly dragging a 50-pound weight for 80 yards at a time up and down a sideline as his teammates practiced.

That was a process that had begun with no weight attached as resistance.

This week Bush has been "getting on the grass.

The Steelers participate in day 8 of the 2021 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex

"I'm doing a lot of 'Indy' (individual work), a lot of just getting out there and doing reactive things," he said. "They hold me out of competition (periods) 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, my calls, just getting back to football again."

There will be a 17-game regular-season schedule awaiting Bush when he returns for his third campaign with the Steelers.

He intends to make the very most of it when the time arrives.

"It's another week of preparation, a lot of stress on your body when you play those games but I'm ready for it," Bush maintained. "It's definitely something I'm going to have to adjust to, especially coming off the injury.

"But I'm looking forward to playing 100 percent of the (defensive) snaps."

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