The 2020 NFL season was forgettable for a lot of reasons. Hardly any fans at games, games being delayed/rescheduled and of course injuries. The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered three key injuries, all torn ACLs, and two of those players are still with the team.
Offensive tackle Zach Banner and ILB Devin Bush are the two who are still in Pittsburgh, while Bud Dupree left via free agency to the Tennessee Titans, and both are continuing their path back to the field.
Banner is more outspoken than Bush, but if you follow both on social media you have had a glimpse of what their rehabilitation has been like the past several months. Banner, who was injured in Week 1, and Bush, who was injured vs. the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field, both are on schedule with their rehab/schedule.
This from Banner during an interview with media Thursday, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Zach Banner and Devin Bush are on schedule with their rehab. Banner said he expects to be ready for training camp. He said anytime we see him with a brace on it’s so he can get used to the brace and break it in, not because he necessarily needs it now.— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) May 27, 2021
The Steelers are currently going through their third, and final, phase of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and both Banner and Bush were present on field for the first time since their injuries in 2020.
Here is some visual evidence of Devin Bush doing some linebacker drills:
Devin Bush taking part today @KDKA pic.twitter.com/bc1iQyqwFh— Rich Walsh KDKA (@RichieWalsh) May 27, 2021
Likewise, here is some video of Banner doing some basic offensive line drills on Thursday:
Zach Banner confirmed that he and his mini-twin, Devin Bush, were on the field today. Expects both to be ready for training camp. pic.twitter.com/9vpSg5WO0S— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) May 27, 2021
Getting both of these players back will be huge for their respective positions. Without Bush, the Steelers lacked a true athlete at the ILB position. Robert Spillane filled in admirably, but when he was hurt and the team had to turn to Vince Williams and Avery Williamson, it was a recipe for disaster.
Likewise on the offensive side of the ball Banner, who won the camp battle with Chuks Okorafor in 2020, could be the road grader the team needs on the edge to jump start their running game. People want to criticize Banner, but he has yet to be given a true opportunity to prove himself.
The Steelers will welcome both of these players back with open arms, and the hope now is they are able to not just be ready for Training Camp, but can stay healthy for all 17 regular season games, and hopefully beyond. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.