Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Bush says he won't work out at NFL combine
By Len Pasquarelli
ATLANTA -- Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, the former Southern California tailback likely to be the top pick in the 2006 draft, will not work out at the scouting combine sessions this week in Indianapolis, and will wait until the Trojans' annual "pro day" to audition for scouts.
It is not unusual for a prospect projected as such a high pick to bypass the on-field drills at the combine, where running backs are scheduled to work out over the weekend. Despite efforts by the league to encourage players to complete the entire combine workout, including a letter this year from Indianapolis Colts stars Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney extolling the virtues of an RCA Dome surface once widely regarded as sluggish, some players still feel more comfortable on campus.
"I'm going [to Indianapolis] to show teams a side of me that maybe they don't know," Bush told ESPN.com. "Hopefully, by now, people know what kind of athlete I am, and what I'm about as a player. But I want teams to get to know my personality, too, and I feel like I can accomplish that during the [combine] interviews."
Bush was here on Tuesday to meet with former longtime NFL personnel director Ken Herock, who helps prepare prospects for the combine interview process. Bush flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday morning for the start of his four-day combine experience.
The Southern California pro day is scheduled for April 2, and Bush is expected to participate in all of the drills that day. He almost certainly will have private workouts, including one for the Houston Texans, who hold the top pick in the April 29 draft, in the weeks following the pro day session on campus.
Houston officials continue to insist they remain undecided about the top pick, but the consensus sentiment is that Bush will be No. 1.
Articulate and engaging, Bush said he has "done [his] homework" on the Texans, including on first-year coach Gary Kubiak, and expects to be the first overall selection. Asked how much he knew about the city of Houston, he said: "I know there's no state income tax in Texas, and that's pretty important to me all of a sudden."
While a few skeptics still question Bush's ability to sustain the rigors of an NFL season at his size, the former USC star has been working out regularly in the Los Angeles area and his weight is up to 204 pounds. It has been as high as 206 pounds in recent weeks.
In 39 college games, Bush compiled 6,746 all-purpose yards. He scored touchdowns rushing, receiving, throwing and on both punt and kickoff returns.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.