Friday, April 29, 2011
Bush saying farewell to New Orleans?
By Pat Yasinskas
Some very interesting tweets by New Orleans running back Reggie Bush (on his verified Twitter account) shortly after the Saints traded back into the first round to take Alabama running back Mark Ingram late in the first round of the draft.
“It’s been fun New Orleans,’’ Bush said in his first tweet.
A bit later, he came back with something much more diplomatic.
“Congrats to Mark Ingram on being selected to New Orleans,’’ Bush said. “He will be a great addition to the Saints backfield just as he was in Alabama.’’
The first reaction is often the one that’s straight from the heart and it sure sounded like Bush thought the addition of Ingram will push him out of New Orleans’ backfield. That’s very understandable and it may come true.
But I’m thinking Bush might have overreacted a bit on this one. He knows better than I do where things really stand. But at the NFL meeting back in March, New Orleans coach Sean Payton gave some pretty strong indications the Saints had every intention of keeping Bush. Payton implied the Saints had talked, prior to the lockout, with Bush and his agent about some sort of contract extension that would keep him with the team and spread out the last very large chunk of money from his initial contract.
Say what you want about Bush’s production since he came into the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2006. But Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis always have seemed to view Bush as a very important part of their team. When he’s been healthy, Bush has done some very good things for New Orleans.
Does the addition of Ingram make Bush expendable? I’m not convinced that’s the case, although Bush seems to be. The Saints now have Ingram, who is a very complete running back. They also re-signed Pierre Thomas to a contract extension prior to the lockout. They also have Chris Ivory, who emerged as a solid running back in his rookie season, mainly due to injuries to Bush and Thomas. And don't forget Lynell Hamilton, who showed some promise before missing last season with an injury.
But last year showed the Saints they never can have enough quality running backs. They ran out of healthy running backs in the playoff loss to Seattle.
Bush may see things differently and he may know more about what was discussed before the lockout. But I’m thinking the Saints may still want to keep him. Trading him may not be an easy task due to his large salary. Simply releasing a talent like Bush might not be all that appealing to the Saints.
They already had Deuce McAllister when they drafted Bush. Payton has said numerous times that one of the first things he did after drafting Bush was to sit both running backs down and tell them there was plenty of room for both of them in the backfield.
Payton might be having that conversation with Bush again in the coming days.