Devin Bush will be playing for his job in 2022.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have declined the fifth-year option on the inside linebacker, meaning he can become a free agent next spring.
Pittsburgh traded up in the first round of the 2019 draft to take Bush with the 10th overall pick. Bush played well as a rookie, getting 109 tackles with two interceptions and a sack while finishing third in the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. Bush’s career, however, hit a setback when he tore the ACL in his left knee against Cleveland in October 2020.
FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Devin Bush (55) runs from Kansas City Chiefs guard Trey Smith (65) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo.
(AP Photo/Travis Heying, File)
He returned in time to start the 2021 season but saw his playing time fluctuate. He played 79% of the defensive snaps last fall, compared to 82% as a rookie and 90% pre-injury in 2020.
Bush, the son of former NFL safety Devin Bush Sr., had 70 tackles with two sacks in 2021.
This is the third time in the past four years that Pittsburgh has not exercised the fifth-year option on a former first-round pick. The Steelers let cornerback Artie Burns — their first-round selection in 2016 — walk after the 2019 season. They also didn’t exercise the fifth-year option on 2018 first-round pick Terrell Edmunds, though they did re-sign Edmunds to a one-year deal late last month.