PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Steelers signed linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year contract Monday, hoping to fill a need on their defense.
But that need is for someone to play the position Ryan Shazier has manned since 2014, before a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in December ended his season and threatened his career. Shazier is already ruled out for the 2018 season, and the man who replaces him will have big shoes to fill, but Bostic doesn’t like that choice of word.
“I would never say ‘replace,’” Bostic said Monday at Steelers’ headquarters on the South Side. “He’s a special player, and I’m sure he’s definitely going to be back at some point. For me, like I said, all I’m supposed to do is come in here and work hard. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it at whatever position it is.”
Bostic, a second-round draft pick from the University of Florida for the Chicago Bears in 2013, has played with four different franchises in his five years in the NFL. After two seasons with the Bears, Bostic was traded to the New England Patriots, where he played for one season before being traded to the Detroit Lions. Bostic broke his foot in training camp in 2016 during a joint practice with (of all teams) the Steelers and he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season before it started.
After signing with the Colts in 2017, Bostic started in 14 games for Indianapolis, recording 97 tackles with a sack and a fumble recovery. He sprained his knee against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 14, and was then placed on injured reserve for the second straight year.
“Before that, I haven’t missed a game since my ninth grade year,” Bostic said of his injury history. “I missed no games in college, then obviously I broke my foot, and then I got [my knee] rolled up on last year. I would’ve missed one game and came back, but I really think all that stuff is behind me.”
Two of Bostic’s primary responsibilities with the Steelers would be calling the defensive plays and playing in coverage, both of which he says he’s comfortable with.
“I was a three-down player there,” he said about last season in Indianapolis. “I never came off the field. I did call all of the plays. I covered as well. A lot of people don’t really know I can do that much, but that is something I definitely can do. I just really haven’t had a chance to show that off as well.”
Having played with so many teams has given him experience in different defensive alignments, which Bostic says plays into his strengths.
“I’m a guy that’s got a lot of versatility and can do a lot of different things,” he said, “so whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
When asked about what made him want to sign with the Steelers, Bostic said, “Just everything from the top down. The ownership, coaches, players that are here, the city and what it means here, the defense, the tradition here. It was just a perfect fit.”
Bostic says he looks forward to working with the Steelers coaching staff and playing for such a reputable organization in the NFL.
“They’re going to see what I do well,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re going to come in and see what you do well and put you in position to succeed.”