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Volume 71, Issue 154, Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sports

Will Reggie Bush be there for the Saints?

Titan

Mark Suarez 

The 2006 NFL draft was supposed to be a day of celebration for a franchise coming off a dismal 2-14 campaign. Instead, the Texans let the top offensive prospect, Southern California running back Reggie Bush, slip right through their fingers. 

‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇThis opened the door for the New Orleans Saints to take the highly coveted Heisman winner with the second pick, and they obliged. The Saints‚Äô brass, proving they had half a brain, selected Bush despite having a top-notch running back in Deuce McAllister already on the squad. 

The devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina can be felt to this day as the Big Easy continues to be rebuilt. The Superdome was badly damaged in the storm, forcing the Saints to play their ‚Äúhome‚Äù games away from home. As a result, their so-called home opener last season was played in New Jersey against the Giants. They had to call San Antonio home for three games before returning to Louisiana to play their remaining four home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. 

With so much to overcome, the Saints stumbled to a 3-13 mark, the second worst record in the NFL. 

The Bush draft selection was just what the doctor ordered for a franchise in need of a morale booster. Shortly after being drafted second, Bush got on the good side of Saints fans when he made it clear he wanted to avoid a draft-day hold out. 

The notion is certainly being put to the test this week, as Saints training camp is set to begin Friday and Bush has yet to come through on his word. 

The former Trojan stand out hasn’t come to terms with the Saints on a contract and the rumor mill has it that Bush wants first-pick money. Bush isn’t the first overall pick and shouldn’t get special treatment to protect his ego.

The Texans signed defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year, $54 million deal with $26.5 million guaranteed. It is unclear how much Bush is asking for, but if he wants more than what the Texans gave Williams then this deal isn‚Äôt going to get done anytime soon. 

If Bush wants to prove he is a stand-up guy, he should report to camp on time with the rest of his teammates and begin focusing on bringing a championship to New Orleans. 

Bush should accept $25 to $26.5 million and move on. He is going to be making millions in endorsements anyway, so what does it matter if the Saints offer $24 million guaranteed if he‚Äôs got another $5 million coming his way for hawking stereos and sandwiches? 

Bush, who has been active in the efforts to rebuild New Orleans, knows the fans will forgive him if he misses training camp as long as he’s signed and on the field when it counts, making a Bush hold-out a likely scenario.

Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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