Deon Bush’s mother Michele was not happy.
And with each pick in the NFL Draft, her frustration reached new heights.
“She was fussing with everyone on TV because she thought Deon should have gone sooner,” Gary Bush, Deon’s dad, said with a hearty laugh. “I said, ‘The guys on TV don’t make the decision.’”
Finally, at about 1:25 p.m. Saturday, Michele Bush’s dismay turned to elation, as the Chicago Bears announced the former Hurricanes safety and Miami native as their 124th overall pick — the 26th selection of the fourth round.
“The NFL Draft can be a challenging process,” Gary Bush said. “She finally calmed down.”
After watching their teammate Artie Burns get picked 25th overall Thursday, then waiting fruitlessly Friday as the minutes melted away, the draft-eligible Miami Hurricanes had to be getting more jittery by the second on Saturday.
Then, Bush had his moment.
“Welcome to Chicago, Deon!” the Chicago Bears tweeted, and the string of congratulatory tweets and text messages began.
Turns out that Bush, who said he had been staying at a hotel, saw a navy blue Chicago Bears T-shirt the Bears had given him at the NFL Scouting Combine and slipped it on before he went home to watch the draft with his family.
“I just had a feeling about the Bears,” Bush told the Miami Herald Saturday afternoon. “Chicago is a wonderful city with wonderful fans and a wonderful history. I’ve been in Miami all my life. Now it’s time to go to a new place. Everything is beginning right now. I just want to make the best of it.”
The 6-0, 199-pound hard-hitting Bush, 22, finished his final season at Miami with 50 tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries, six pass breakups and an interception. But it wasn’t considered his best, and his upside is believed to be substantial.
A high-character young man, Bush has helped his father fight through liver cancer while doing extensive community service. This past season he was one of 22 college players nationally chosen for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most significant off-the-field honors in college football.
“When I read his résumé, it was eye-popping, incredible,” ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer said.
Fellow ESPN analyst Todd McShay lauded Bush’s talent after he was drafted.
“It’s really evident on tape,” McShay said. “He has size, athleticism. He’s got the skill set to develop into an interchangeable starting safety if he’s able to regain focus and if Chicago can bring out the most in him.”
Bush, who graduated from Columbus High, will join former Hurricane stars and current Bears Antrel Rolle, a fellow safety from Homestead, and punter Pat O’Donnell.
Bush said that former UM coach Al Golden, now a tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions, texted him to say “how happy he was for me and how he was fired up.”
Bush said he was nervous early Saturday afternoon, but that he continued to pray. “At the end of the day, I had faith in God that everything was going to happen the way it was supposed to.”
His mindset: to “keep chopping away and do whatever it takes to get to the Super Bowl.”
While UM’s two drafted defensive backs were celebrating, their undrafted teammates were busy arranging contracts as free agents. As of early Saturday night, the Canes heading to various NFL teams as undrafted free agents were defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu (Houston Texas) and Calvin Heurtelou (Denver Broncos), cornerback Tracy Howard (Cleveland Browns), receivers Herb Waters (Green Bay Packers) and Rashawn Scott (Miami Dolphins) and linebacker Tyriq McCord (Steelers). Others hoping to sign included linebacker Raphael Kirby and safety/running back Dallas Crawford.
“To all the undrafted fellas I FEEL YOUR PAIN,” tweeted Allen Hurns, now a Jacksonville Jaguars star receiver who went undrafted in 2014 after setting a single-season receiving yards record (1,162) his senior year at UM. “It will be [a] non-stop grind but gotta make the most of your opportunities. Rise above #faith.”