But years later, the NCAA determined Bush had received improper benefits while a student-athlete. Signs were the Heisman Trust intended to strip Bush of the trophy, and so he willfully gave it up himself.
“I don’t regret anything,” Bush said of the ordeal. “I think everything happens for a reason. I always believed that God puts things in front of you and tests you to prepare you for something maybe worse to come.”
As a pro, nothing worse has come his way – unless you count falling short of the stratospheric expectations that greeted his arrival.
By all accounts, Bush has been a good, productive NFL tailback.
But Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout who’s now an analyst on NFL Network, had pegged Bush as a “transcendent” talent when evaluating the prospect for the Baltimore Ravens in 2006.
“I thought he was so dynamic and so explosive, that he had the capabilities of changing the game,” Jeremiah said. “Reggie’s had a very solid career, but to me, he’s a miss. He was the highest grade I’ve ever given personally given.”
His big issues
Regardless, Bush helped the Saints win the only Super Bowl title in team history in 2009, and scored 33 all-purpose touchdowns during his five years in New Orleans.
The knock on Bush was his durability, and for good reason. He missed a quarter of his games in a Saints uniform. Ultimately, New Orleans chose to trade him to Miami for next to nothing before the 2011 season.
He then signed a two-year, $10 million contract that ends after this following season, which means that he’s in a dreaded contract season – which is hard to square with the fact that he’s an undisputed team leader and star of the team.
During training camp, long after his teammates had called it quits for the day, Bush was often the last one on the field, running sprints or pushing a sled.
The dedication has not gone unnoticed. The Dolphins’ lobby, the ultimate window into the team’s soul, displays the jerseys of four active players: two offensive linemen, their starting middle linebacker, and Bush.
“Most people look at this as a pressure situation, but I don’t even think about it,” said Bush, who claims he could finish his career in Miami. “I don’t want to keep bouncing around from team to team. I’d like to have a home and stay there.
“Plus, I love the city of Miami.”
He’s just not necessary keen on its world-class nightlife. Bush is a restaurant guy, not a club rat. Industry insiders say he’s a regular at Bal Harbour’s Makoto, and often hits up Prime 112 after a Dolphins win.
Just don’t expect to see him popping bottles at LIV, at least during the season. Simply not his style. But that isn’t to say he’s become boring.
Over the summer, Bush took a 10-day tour through Europe, and hopped into a stunt plane while in Salzburg, Austria. Granted, he wasn’t the pilot – Red Bull Air Race World Champion Hannes Arch manned the controls – but the multiple G-forces felt the same regardless.
(Bush conveniently forgot to clear the flight with Philbin before he left. No harm done, though. He returned to earth in one piece.)
A new lady friend joined Bush on the cross-oceanic getaway, but not even his old friends, the tabloids, could find out her identity. During a recent sit-down with The Miami Herald, Bush was equally coy – saying only hers wasn’t a household name. That, he added, was by design.
“That’s what I love about her so much,” Bush said. “I don’t want to make her high profile.
“It’s a better speed for me,” he said. “She obviously helps with keeping my life calm, simplifying my life, and so it is really good for me, and it’s really calming to have somebody like that on my side.”