Club-hopping A-listers are notorious for pushing to the front of most any South Beach line.
Reggie Bush, meanwhile, spends his downtime pushing a blocking sled.
A younger Bush built a gossip-page reputation as a socialite and playboy. But these days, you’re more likely to find him at a movie theater than Cameo.
And while the salacious details of past heartbreak were fodder for reality television, his current love life is far more discrete.
In short, Bush is the opposite of everything a self-respecting Miami-based celebrity should be: He’s polite, modest and humble.
Or put another way, Bush is the perfect poster-boy for Joe Philbin’s Dolphins. In a largely anonymous locker room, Bush is the anti-diva.
“I’ve never thought about being the star,” the now-27-year-old running back said. “The guys who are with me, who’ve played with me, or have seen me on a daily basis, know that I work hard.”
Added Elliott Stares, a Miami-based sports and entertainment publicist: “Reggie Bush is considered one of the most mature athletes, on and off the field. He wants his reputation to be developed around his game, not how he is seen or perceived.”
At the dawn of a new Dolphins season, Bush has a new role – team leader – and a new goal. The one-time gadget back wants to lead the league in rushing.
And with every tackle he breaks, Bush wants to crush the perception that he’s all sizzle, and no substance.
“Reggie’s always been a highly competitive guy, a highly loyal guy, and nothing’s changed,” said Joel Segal, the sports super-agent who represents Bush.
“You want him a bunker with you. He’s one of the toughest guys I know.”
Bush showed that toughness in 2011, his first year in Miami. Then-coach Tony Sparano believed what few others did: That Bush could handle the every-down pounding and run between the tackles.
Some career highs
Bush rewarded that faith by posting career-highs in carries (216) and yards (1,086). His 5.0 yards-per-rush average was best among NFL backs with at least 200 carries.
And now, as Bush heads into a contract year, playing with a rookie quarterback and untested receivers, this season could be his perfect storm.
He’s not only the Dolphins’ best offensive option. Bush might be their only dependable one.
“He’s got such good natural instincts as a runner,” Philbin said, “and he’s got some patience too.”
That patience came in handy when dealing with the sillier side of celebrity, a byproduct of his off-again, on-again, and (likely) off-for-good relationship with the Queen of Reality TV, Kim Kardashian.
Their star-crossed affair, which ended in 2010, was broadcast for the world to see on Kardashian’s popular show.
Bush, now two years removed from that fishbowl (and happily so), says he doesn’t regret that past association.
It’s an answer Bush, the Southern Cal star and second pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, gives in an otherwise drama-free career.
Bush was a two-time All-American at USC, an explosive, dynamic player who finished 10th in Division I-A history with 6,541 all-purpose yards – despite playing just three seasons.
He was the runaway pick for the 2005 Heisman Trophy, and led the Trojans to consecutive appearances in the national championship game.