Saturday night, Devin Bush might have hinted at where his next NFL stop will be. At least where he wants it to be. Because it sure looks like his time in Pittsburgh is over.
During the Wild Card game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bush sent this tweet.
“Playing for a former NFL player…” Bush tweeted with a “thinking” emoji.
I don’t generally focus on player tweets, the Deonta Johnson “drama” was all bullshit, but this tweet is much more specific.
Could he be referring to Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson? He spent ten years as an NFL quarterback, although he only made 17 starts and threw only twelve career touchdowns. He has been coaching since 2005 and in the NFL since 2009, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl before taking the Jaguars job this past season, turning their year around and getting them into the playoffs.
Bush’s current head coach, Mike Tomlin, has never played in a championship. His highest level of play came as a wide receiver at William & Mary. After his college days were over, he accepted a job offered by the late Bill Stewart at VMI and began his coaching career.
After his fifth-year option was declined, Bush is set to become a free agent this March. After playing ten total defensive snaps in the final two weeks of the season, it’s highly unlikely he’ll return, and he figures to play elsewhere in 2023. Bush’s play has improved from a year ago, helped by two years removed from his torn ACL, and he’s an underrated tackler who has shown more physicality against the run. But he still didn’t have impact games and had too many sub moments, wasn’t trusted against the run and was programmed in favor of rookie Mark Robinson until the end of the year.
Pederson aside, other notable head coaches who played in the NFL include Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel and Detroit’s Dan Campbell. Bush played his college ball at Michigan, so going to the Lions would be close to where he used to play ball.
Perhaps Bush isn’t referring to any specific coach, but simply the allure of playing for someone who has played in the NFL. There is a certain level of credibility and “buying” these coaches can make that others can take advantage of. Those who have been on the field have gone against the best and can relate to the ups and downs experienced by the elite who have played in the NFL.
As Bush hits free agency, check out the coaching connection. That might be where he wants to go. Of course, any team will need mutual interest, and that could be the trickier end of the equation.