Reggie Bush - Saints vs. Browns - Icon Sports Media
It's the elephant the room we haven't talked about....that ends now. What about Reggie Bush?
I remember draft day 2006. I was running on the treadmill, already out of breath, and now facing a major coronary event - "With the number two pick, the Saints draft Reggie Bush from USC". My first reaction was ambivalence. We already had Deuce McAllister, our beloved local hero, and Aaron Stecker. With so many weak areas to address after our appalling 3-13 "Katrina" season, was this where the organization wanted to put their focus?
But this was the first post-Katrina season and fans needed to be excited more than anything else. No doubt, Reggie Bush was electrifying...watch any USC highlight film. He would bring the "Hollywood attention" to a team and city in desperate need of attention. Fans showed their overwhelming approval by buying number 25 jerseys in bulk and chanting "Regg-ie, Regg-ie" when he first stepped on the field for that magical Monday night opener against the Falcons. Reggie brought a much needed swagger - he was a winner that wasn't accustomed to losing. The Saints and New Orleans knew losing all too well.
The NFL would be an adjustment for Reggie, as it is with most rookies. His high-flying, beat 'em around the corner, faster-than-everyone-else on the field style might have worked against boys but not men. It did, however, work occasionally and it was spectacular and everyone praised his athleticism. In a photograph of his first punt return for a touchdown against the Bucs, even the chain gang is caught cheering him on. When it didn't work, he took the wrath of fans and talking heads. When you're the talk of the town, you're also the butt of all jokes!
Is everyone supposed to be succeed all the time? Mistakes happen every game - missed tackles, fumbles, interceptions and missed blocking assignments. The only problem with a "Reggie Bush" is that the spotlight shines on him all the time whether he's excelling or not. The problem is, as with any top draft pick, when you pay big money, you expect big results.
I, for one, think we got what we paid for. Reggie was a pivotal part of building a championship team. Anyone who disagrees may want to look up the definition of "team". Did he drop a punt or two (or more)? Sure he did! Did he miss a pass or two? Sure he did! But when it came time to "Bring the Wood", he brought it! When he was asked to carry the load in a season with massive injuries, he stepped up. When he was asked to stop doing so many commercials, he stopped. When he was asked to move his offseason workouts to New Orleans, he did.
It's easy to be critical of a big dollar player. Reggie did what he was asked to do - showing a great deal of commitment to the Saints and New Orleans. But he wants to be a feature back and he has that opportunity in Miami. I wish him the best of luck....unless of course we meet the Dolphins in the post-season.