Many of you have been calling for Reggie Bush's head all off-season long, if not long before that. For those of you that did, you finally got your wish, when the Dolphins made a move to re-structure his contract and trade for him. I'm sure some of you are jumping for joy that Reggie is taking his talents to South Beach.
With Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory all on board, let's face it, how much room was there going to be for Reggie to operate? We should also face the fact that Reggie Bush was immature at times and never lived up to the hype, his contract, or his status as a 2nd overall draft selection while in New Orleans.
But I think it's also important to acknowledge that Reggie Bush is still a capable NFL player that has not yet reached the ceiling of his abilities, and should he reach that untapped potential he could still be a superstar. As it stands, he's a highly explosive player with game breaking ability. His struggles are well documented - lack of focus, lack of maturity and mental lapses at critical times.
It was always my hope that Bush could fully blossom as a person and player in New Orleans and overcome his shortcomings. Sadly his journey in New Orleans is now over after five years and he'll never get a chance to fully grow up in our town. I do think he's a good player and a good person, though, and I hope he's able to really hit his stride in Miami.
While Reggie came to New Orleans with insurmountable hype he could never realistically live up to, I don't think that's his fault and we shouldn't blame him for it. Bush was a product of his environment for the last decade. Also, his five year career in New Orleans did include some pleasant memories. Regardless of how you feel about him as a Saints fan, I think he deserves at least modicum of respect from you.
On the field, he helped the Saints win a Super Bowl and get to an NFC Championship. Some of his biggest performances were in the playoffs. You'll of course remember his amazing game against the Cardinals during the 2009 Super Bowl run, the shining moment of his career so far. But he also made a huge play against the Bears in the NFC Championship in 2006 (88 yard touchdown reception).
Bush had highlight reel plays in his career, most notably his leaping touchdowns where he'd somehow dive and cross the pylon for a score many times showing freakish athletic ability. Off the field, Bush donated a lot of money to New Orleans. When he first signed his contract, the first thing he did was donate an enormous amount of money to rebuilding the 9th ward. He's held a charity auction with all proceeds going to Katrina damages. And while Bush has said some regrettable things in the media, he has always owned up to them. He's always worn his heart on his sleeve, he's always been a guy that acknowledged mistakes and was remorseful of them, and most of the time he said the right things.
I absolutely understand why Reggie Bush is no longer a member of the New Orleans Saints, and I think we all saw the writing on the wall before the lockout even began. Still, I think it's fair for me to say I wish it had played out differently because I like the guy. Some of you don't like him, and that's completely fair as well. Still, I think it's undeniable he did some good things, both on and off the field. While he never lived up to the hype, had more realistic expectations been placed upon him to begin with, he would have been appreciated a great deal more.
Take care of yourself in Miami, Reggie. I wish you the best. Hopefully other Saints fans do, too.