Reggie Bush was once the most electric football player in America, and he would love to prove he still has the ability to break games open with his open-field abilities.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is trying to convince the San Francisco 49ers to let him return punts this season to showcase those skills, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area:
“I told the coaches I wanted to return punts again. And they were excited about it. We’re still working at it, still chipping away. And we look forward to being an all-around great special teams.”
Bush was seen, along with rookie Jarryd Hayne, the Aussie rugby star, returning punts during the team’s OTAs on Thursday. Hayne is a long shot to make the team, and while he is listed as a running back, his best (and maybe only) chance to win a roster spot is via special teams.
That won’t stop Bush from pushing hard to earn the coveted role of punt returner this upcoming season. It’s a role that served him well during his tenure at New Orleans, where he returned four punts for touchdowns.
As Maiocco noted, wide receiver Bruce Ellington is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Ellington was the team’s punt returner in 2014, though his numbers weren’t exactly inspiring and his longest return was only 23 yards.
“Getting out there and catching punts, I didn’t feel like I was missing a beat or gotten rusty,” Bush said on Thursday. “I’m excited. I just think it’s another challenge for me and another opportunity for me to go out and showcase my skills.”
If Bush still possesses that extra gear to go the distance, then the 49ers should strongly consider granting his request. Special teams plays can turn the tide of the game in a heartbeat, and Bush’s ability to make people miss is a valued commodity the team shouldn’t let go to waste.
Photo: USA Today Sports