PHOENIX -- Sure, Reggie Bush has tweeted out a few thoughts since officially becoming a member of the San Francisco 49ers last week. But he has yet to speak publicly, or take questions from Niners' beat writers on returning to his native California -- he's a SoCal native from San Diego.
Still, it got me thinking about the night he won the 2005 Heisman Trophy as a junior running back at USC, before his legacy became tarnished and he forfeited his title in the midst of an extra benefits scandal while playing for the Trojans.
I was in Manhattan that night, there to cover an Oakland Raiders-New York Jets game the next day for the Sacramento Bee, and caught up with Bush just after he won the award in a Times Square theater. Remember, this was in early December and factions were already forming for the upcoming Bush Bowl between the Niners and Houston Texans in the season finale.
A big storyline, as far as the Niners were concerned, was the possibility of Bush joining the 49ers to reunite with his old San Diego Helix High School buddy, Alex Smith, who had been taken No. 1 overall the previous April.
"Yeah, I think it is [special], just because Alex is a former teammate of mine and I'd love the opportunity to go up and play with him again," Bush told me that night on Dec. 10, 2005.
"He's a great competitor and a good friend of mine."
But Bush, apparently, has long had a soft spot in his heart for the 49ers.
"Oh yeah, I was a big Niners fan growing up," he said at the time. "Oh, man, Ricky Watters, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, all those guys."
Nearly a decade and four teams later, can Bush add his name to that list?