During his first five years in the NFL, running back Reggie Bush never totaled more than 581 yards rushing. During that time, all spent with the New Orleans Saints, he average 418 yards per season, on 104.8 carries per years. Before the 2011 season, Bush was traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he finished the season with 261 carries for 1,086 yards. His performance was good enough for a 5.0 yards per carry average, the second highest of his career, and the highest in the NFL last year among 1,000 yard rushers.
This season, Bush has 791 rushing yards on 179 carries. He is on pace for 973 yards on 220 carries. He could reach the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season, and second time in his career, if he averages just 69.7 yards per game over the final three weeks.
Since coming to Miami, Bush has simply seen his career explode. Instead of the change of pace, limited use running back he was in New Orleans, the Dolphins used him like a number one, feature runner, and he responded.
However, now Bush has to wonder about his future in Miami. "It's getting pretty late," Bush told The Miami Herald's Adam H. Beasley this week. "It's getting pretty late."
The Dolphins like what Bush brings to the team. He's a locker room leader, he's a respected veteran, and his work ethic ranks among the top in the league. Bush is always the last player to leave practice, staying after to work on his game, as well as help others improve. Bush is a fan favorite, and has become a big part of the Miami community.
But, he also plays a position that is no longer a priority in the NFL. The Dolphins are deep at running back, with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller both having solid seasons, when given touches, although neither one has approached Bush's production levels consistently.
"I like the way he goes about his business," Miami head coach Joe Philbin stated when asked about Bush. "He's made a valuable contribution on the field, and I think he's a guy that young guys look up to. He's a good example for the younger players."
"It's a little uneasy and unsure, but at the same time, exciting, because you know there are opportunities out there," Bush told Beasley. "I'd love to stay here, but part of me says, ‘well, there's nothing been on the table quite yet.' I'm remaining optimistic."
Bush explained that his offseason focus will be on teams that need and want him, and, to some degree, money. He explained to Beasley that he does not need the money, he has earned enough in his first seven years in the NFL, and he really wants an opportunity to continue to be a number one starter and have a chance to get to the Super Bowl.
Bush won the Super Bowl with the Saints in 2009, and he wants to add a second ring to his collection.
The Super Bowl may be a few years off for the Dolphins, so Bush may want to move on to a team closer to winning it all. However, he did tell Beasley his goal is to play five more years which, assuming the Dolphins are able to build around rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, could be in play for Miami. Which means, the real issue for Bush and the Dolphins to come to a deal may come down to the one thing Bush says it's not all about this offseason.