Reggie Bush wants to return to Saints

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush (25) runs up the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during first half action at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 2, 2011. Defending on the play is the Buccaneers’ Corey Lynch (41). UPI/A.J. Sisco

Two weeks after suggesting on Twitter that the selection of Mark Ingram sealed his fate in New Orleans, Reggie Bush has pulled an about-face and wants “first and foremost” to be a Saint.

From Rotoworld:

Bush regrets his post-draft tweet suggesting the Mark Ingram pick had sealed his fate with the team. “Obviously, sometimes you write things or say things that you wish you shouldn’t have,” Bush said. “(Ingram and) I can definitely help each other.” Bush acknowledges that he and the Saints still have to “handle the business side of things” and “come to a happy medium” on a restructured contract, but he to play the rest of his career in New Orleans. The odds are now much better than 50-50 that Bush will remain with the Saints

The problem is that Bush is set to make $11.8 million next year before he becomes a free agent in 2012. Given his role in Sean Payton’s offense and the fact that the Saints just drafted their running back of the future in Ingram, it’s hard to justify them paying Bush $11.8 million. If he’s willing to restructure his deal to stick around, I’m sure the Saints would love to keep him in New Orleans.

If he does wind up playing elsewhere next year, there have been some rumblings that Bush could be a nice fit for the Colts.

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Will Reggie Bush be back in New Orleans next year?

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush (L) picks up first quarter yardage as he tries to elude Seattle Seahawks defender Walter Thurmond during their NFC Wildcard playoff NFL game in Seattle, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Shortly after the Saints traded back into the first round to select Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Reggie Bush tweeted: “It’s been fun New Orleans.”

But does that mean that Bush is done in Nawlans? According to head coach Sean Payton, the answer is no.

After selecting Ingram, Payton told the media that the pick has “no bearing” on Bush’s future. He even went as far as to say that he would be “surprised, really” if Bush isn’t back in New Orleans in 2011.

But the fact that the Saints just traded up to take a feature back in the first round and Bush is owed $11.8 million next year says otherwise. If Bush were making significantly less, then I could see the Saints making room for the former Heisman winner. But at $11.8 million, I highly doubt that the Saints will keep him at the salary he‘s owed. Maybe he’ll be willing to take a paycut but if not, Bush could be in a different uniform come September.

The end could be near for the former No. 2 overall pick in New Orleans.

Bush: USC investigation “the closest thing to death without dying.”

For the first time since USC received a two-year bowl ban from the NCAA, Reggie Bush spoke openly about how the situation has affected him.

From the New Orleans Times Picayune:

“For the people who say … well I’ve heard people say that I don’t really care about this too much and I just brush it off my shoulders. Those people don’t know me. Because this thing regarding USC and the NCAA is to me the closest thing to death without dying,” Bush said in his opening statement. “Because I have such a great love and respect for the University of (Southern) California, this has been one of the toughest things I’ve had to deal with in my life. But at the same time whether it’s all true or all wrong or whether we’re guilty or not guilty, it’s still my responsibility and I have to accept that. And I have to deal with it as it is and try to manage it as best as I can. With that, we plan to aid USC as much as possible in the appeal with the NCAA. I’m gonna do everything I can to make it right, to make it better, and that’s really all I can do.

“It sucks because like I said I have such a strong love and passion for USC. It’s almost like shaming your dad in a sense. You know, you go through life trying to represent the different companies or sports marketing companies or USC or whatever it is that you represent as best as possible. So when things like this happen it’s really unfortunate. It’s terrible that this was brought on USC. Another reason why it hurts so much is that I come from a strong family, I was raised well, I was raised to do the right thing. And the fact that this happened is unfortunate. So when my family name is at stake or USC or the New Orleans Saints or whoever it is that I represent, because of me, it hurts.”

Some people want to blame Bush for everything that has transpired at USC over the past two weeks. But the blame is three-pronged: USC, the two agents that supplied Bush and his family with the gifts, and Bush himself are all to blame here.

Bush should be held accountable for what happened because even though he was only a kid in some respects, he was old enough to know right from wrong. He had to have a suspicion that something was wrong, seeing as how not every player’s family was receiving free housing. And shame on his family for taking advantage of the situation and not insisting that Bush go to the university right away and being open about what was going on.

Since Bush chose to accept the gifts, he should be punished, just as USC was punished for not having a better grasp of what was going on. Bush was the most recognizable athlete on their campus during his playing days – somebody should have known that he and his family were receiving gifts and put a stop to it.

What cracks me up about this is that guys like Bush and Pete Carroll are surprised about how this situation went down. How else could it have ended? The kid was getting free shit for years and nobody did anything about it.

Nothing in life is free.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

It makes sense for the Saints to keep Bush

After weeks of speculation that he could be dumped in a cost cutting move this offseason, Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network is reporting that the Saints aren’t even contemplating releasing running back Reggie Bush.

Bush is set to make $8 million in 2010, which is a lot of loot for a team to spend on a part-time player. The Saints also have 21 pending free agents (18 of them are restricted) that they have to decide whether or not to bring back and an extra $8 million in salary relief could go a long way this offseason.

That said, the Saints just won the Super Bowl and Bush is good for at least 10 touchdowns a year in some capacity. As he proved against the Cardinals in the playoffs, he’s a game changer if he gets enough touches and he’s liable to take one to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball.

Teams have a very small window to win the in NFL because of the amount of turnover that occurs from year to year. The Saints already have a Super Bowl roster and while Bush will no doubt be overpaid next season, he’s still a viable commodity to New Orleans’ offense. Even though that money could definitely be used elsewhere, it makes sense that the Saints would want to hang onto Bush for one more year and make another run at a Super Bowl while they still have the talent to do so.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Will the Saints look to trade Bush this offseason?

One of the main questions that the Super Bowl champion Saints will need to answer this offseason is whether or not they will retain Reggie Bush for 2010. He’s still under contract for another year, but he’s due $8 million, which is hefty price tag for a part-time player.

Bush has never shown the ability to consistently run between the tackles and his durability is always a concern, but he will still be a hot commodity if the Saints decide to move him this offseason. He’s a threat to score with the ball in his hands, is a dangerous punt returner and is also the very definition of a playmaker. Some team would want him if he were to become available, especially if New Orleans agrees to pay part of his salary (or even if they don’t).

I can’t help making the obvious connection between Bush and the Seattle Seahawks, who recently hired former USC head coach Pete Carroll and who are in desperate need of offensive playmakers. If anyone knew how to best utilize Bush’s talent, it would be Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

But let’s get back to the original question: Will the Saints look to move Bush this offseason? An outright release seems unlikely given that he’s only 24 and still adds value to their offense and on special teams. He proved his worth in the playoffs and even at $8 million, he’s worth 10 touchdowns a year in some capacity.

The problem is that the Saints have 18 restricted free agents, including Bush’s fellow backfield mate Pierre Thomas, All-Pro guard Jahri Evans, safety Roman Harper and offensive tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jammal Brown. Even in an uncapped year, $8 million would go a long way for a team that needs new deals for the aforementioned starters, not to mention unrestricted free agents like Darren Sharper and Scott Fujita.

The Saints have an interesting dilemma on their hands this offseason when it comes to whether or not to retain Bush. Considering they just won the Super Bowl, now isn’t the best time to start ripping their team apart but $8 million is a lot of dough to give one player when a team has 21 pending free agents to worry about.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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