Reggie Bush will forever be linked with Mario Williams thanks to one Charley Casserly, who passed on the Heisman Trophy-winning running back in order to select the defensive end now plying his trade for the Buffalo Bills. Had Bush planned on donning a Texans jersey on draft day?
“We kinda all did,” Bush said Tuesday in a conference call ahead of his Miami Dolphins’ visit to Buffalo this week. “Me and my agent and my family, we kinda all thought we were going to Houston. We found out the same way everybody else find out: on Sportscenter.”
It’s ancient history for Bush, but a connection many still make when the two names are in the same breath.
“I haven’t really followed too closely on his career,” Bush said of Williams. “He’s obviously a great player who just got a huge monster contract so he’s obviously not doing too bad.”
Bush has an active relationship with one of the Bills, however, and the similarities between the two players are striking. Both Bush and Buffalo back C.J. Spiller figured to be electrifying feature backs once they hit the National Football League, but both struggled to crack the 4.0 yards-per-carry mark as rookies. Looking back on his early days, Bush said it took time to adjust to not being a feature back.
“It probably took me about two years just to get used to it and get used to that new role and just everything about the National Football League,” said Bush.
Both also had backfield obstacles in their way. As a rookie, Bush lost out on carries to Deuce McAllister by a 2:1 margin. When McAllister was lost for the 2007 season, Bush lost carries to Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker. He became a toy until moving to Miami and revitalizing his career. In Spiller’s case, he’s had to deal with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson — two of the NFL’s best backs in their own right — sharing the load.
Both had coaches fighting to give them touches in open space and found their legs in the pass game before the ground game. You could easily argue that both New Orleans and Buffalo selected the two freaky backs because they couldn’t believe their fortune.
Bush and Spiller became friends working out together in Los Angeles during the offseasons and Bush has played advisor to Spiller as the young back becomes accustomed to sharing the load.
“He’s a great running back,” Bush said of his buddy, who has grasped the pro game faster than the veteran Phins back. “He’s quick. He’s elusive. He runs hard. He’s a guy that definitely needs a lot of touches. He can break the game open at any given time and he’s doing a great job. I’m friends with him and every time we get a chance to play I talk to him and tell him to stay positive, stay focused and keep working hard and it’s going to come.”