The Detroit Lions still don’t have a someone they’re sure of that is going to fill the role of the punt returner next season. So, the answer, instead of searching for that single answer, might be making it into a rotational position, in which even star running back Reggie Bush might take a part of.
Bush returned 98 punts from 2006-2011 for the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, scoring four touchdowns, including 3 in the 2008 season. Last season, his second in Miami, he was no longer needed to take care of that role, but there’s a chance the Lions might ask him to do it once again, or at least share the role with someone.
Bush? He doesn’t mind. I’ve done it before, and I don’t mind it. I can still do it if I need to and if they want me to do it. I’ll definitely go out there and return punts. It’s still early. They haven’t said anything official yet, so we’re still just feeling it out.
Bush sorta stepped out of the shadows after leaving the Saints for the Dolphins, getting a lot more touches as a running back instead of being used as a decoy or a receiver under Sean Payton. He ran for 986 yards last season, scoring six touchdowns, and the Lions, mostly a pass-happy offense, relying on the connection between Matthew Stafford and Clavin Johnson, are going to use his as much as possible.
And Bush is quite happy about it, calling the Lions and the role offered him a running back’s dream after signing with the team. Bush has never carried more than 230 times in a season, and while some might question his ability to take on an extra load, it’s not going to be just about his ability to run the ball. The Lions have big plans for Bush as a receiver as well. As long as he gets to touch the ball quite often during games, the former number 2 draft pick doesn’t really mind.
Bush was used quite often as a passing target during the first two years of his careers, picking up 161 receptions in 2006 and 2007, but as his time of being fit on the field decreased, so did his reception numbers. He was used as a more conventional running back with the Dolphins, but still caught 78 passes for 588 yards and three touchdowns. In an offense like the Lions use, he’s likely to get just that and probably even more.