While he remains the presumptive top pick in the draft, and fully expects to hear his name called first by commissioner Paul Tagliabue on April 29, Southern California tailback Reggie Bush is taking absolutely nothing for granted.
And so the Heisman Trophy winner and all-around offensive star is about to take some trips to visit with officials from franchises that might be interested in selecting him should the Houston Texans decide to go in another direction with the first pick in the draft.
Bush huddled with Texans officials and coaches last Thursday and is suddenly poised to ring up frequent flier miles as quickly as he amassed all-purpose yards during his brilliant college career. Bush will meet next week with the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans, who hold the second and third overall choices in the draft, respectively. And agent Joel Segal confirmed that the New York Jets, with the No. 4 pick, recently contacted him to arrange a visit, although that trip has not yet been finalized.
It was originally believed that Bush, the top prospect on most teams' draft boards, would severely limit the number of teams with which he visited. Bush and Segal understand, however, that a lot can still transpire between now and the draft, and want to be prepared for all possible scenarios.
"We're performing our due diligence just like the teams are," Segal said. "As long as trips don't interfere with Reggie's [workout] schedule, we're trying to be accommodating. It's part of the process."
Most teams still believe that the Texans, who have yet to earn a playoff berth in their four-year existence, will choose Bush and will attempt to have a contract agreement in place with him before the draft begins. But the Texans also met last week with Texas quarterback Vince Young and on Monday with defensive end Mario Williams of North Carolina State.
Bush acknowledged last week, following his visit in Houston, that team officials made no promises to him about being the top choice, even though he expects to be.
"We're just covering all the bases," Bush said.
There has been dialogue this week between the Texans and the Bush camp but substantive negotiations have yet to begin. It will be surprising, though, if the two sides aren't engaged in detailed discussions by the end of the week. Because they own the top overall pick, the Texans can negotiate with multiple players at the same time.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.