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Responding to adversity

Last season didn't turn out to be the season inside linebacker Devin Bush or the Steelers envisioned, but Bush wasn't the only player on defense who came up short of expectations, inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky maintained.

"It was a long year for all of us," Olsavsky acknowledged. "We fought through. Even in the Kansas City (playoff) game, he ended up with an interception. He probably wasn't happy with us losing but, hey, just gotta keep fighting.

"He's been here (at OTAs and Mandatory Veteran Minicamp), looked pretty good. He made a nice play the other day that a lot of people won't see, but as coaches we see. That's what we're here for. He's gonna work and work hard to get back."

Bush was coming off of knee surgery last season after playing in just five games in 2020.

The Steelers played the entirety of the 2021 campaign without defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt and had nose tackle Tyson Alualu available for only two games.

They wound up finishing last in the NFL in run defense with an average of 146.1 yards per game surrendered, including an average of 5.0 yards per carry.

"Stopping the run is a seven- or eight-man proposition up front," Olsavsky said. "When you lose guys it makes it more difficult. But the standard is to stop the run. The standard isn't last year. The standard is the years previous, Top 10 run defense, that's the standard. We all understand that and we're all upset that we didn't reach that but we're gonna do everything we can to get back there."

The Steelers declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Bush's rookie contract, but Olsavsky nonetheless remains firmly entrenched in Bush's corner.

"Devin Bush is a great player," Olsavsky said. "Sometimes people have good years, some people have bad years, good pays, bad plays. But the measure of you is how you respond to adversity, we know that our whole lives.

"When you get hit, you gotta stand back up. I know Devin and I'm confident he's gonna step up."