- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It is still a benchmark and in a world where round numbers end up turning into markers to hit, it still looks somewhat pretty.
Even though the notion of the true featured back has now been skewed and more backs can do more things these days, the 1,000-yard running back is still held in high esteem.
Detroit brought in Reggie Bush to be as close to its featured back as the Lions were going to get. And even though he has missed two games because of injury and most of another after being hurt, Bush is close to a 1,000-yard season at 940 yards with two games left.
“He’s certainly added credibility to our running game,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “So has Joique (Bell). Between the two of them, the combination has been pretty much what we’ve been hoping for.”
Bush has hit the 1,000-yard mark only once in his career, when he gained 1,086 yards for Miami in 2011. He followed it up with 986 yards last season.
But Bush is more of that do-everything back, so his rushing totals are somewhat skewed. He also has 463 receiving yards, the most since he caught 88 passes for 742 yards his rookie season.
So is 1,000 yards a big deal to him?
“It’s just kind of like a benchmark for running backs right now,” Bush said. “I don’t know if it’s a big deal for me. A big deal is rushing for 2,000 yards. That’s a big deal.”
Hitting 2,000 yards is a massive deal because it hardly ever happens, and Bush has a point on the difference between a benchmark and a big deal. In a 16-game regular season, rushing for 1,000 yards means running for 62.5 yards a game. With two games left in the regular season, nine players have already reached the 1,000-yard mark. Three others, including Bush, are within 100 yards and two more are within 150 yards.
Last season, 16 players rushed for 1,000 yards or more. The season before, 14 players did, and in 2010, 17 players hit the benchmark. So about half of the league’s main running backs hit the mark each year.
In all-purpose yards, Bush has already smashed the 1,000-yard barrier. He’s seventh in the NFL with 1,403 yards from scrimmage.
But if Bush hits it, it would still be a big deal for a Lions offense that looked for more balance by signing Bush in the offseason. And Bush would be pleased as well, saying “it’s cool” if he hits the mark.
“If you get it, it’s good,” Bush said. “If not, I don’t know.”
So it still can be an accomplishment to hit, just not the be-all, end-all judge of a running back as it sometimes used to be.