In his prime, running back Reggie Bush would have been a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s spread offense.
His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and his versatile talent to be effective on runs both inside and outside the tackles would be a wonderful pairing with the fast-paced attack.
But at age 31 and coming off an injury-shortened 2015 season in San Francisco, it seems unlikely that Bush will be back with the 49ers for an encore season.
This past weekend, Bush – who had his season end with the 49ers after just five games – said he’s not yet ready to walk away from the game.
“I’m not retiring,” Bush told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m still playing. No, I’m not done. And I would never -- knock on wood – I never want to end my career like that, going out like that.”
Bush signed a one-year deal with the 49ers last offseason after two seasons in Detroit. But with the 49ers, he never got going. He played briefly in the season opener, missed the next two games, played in one, missed another and then injured his knee slipping on the slick surface outside the turf in St. Louis and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
He carried the ball just eight times for 28 yards and had four catches for 19 yards. It marked his second straight injury-marred season after playing just 11 games for the Lions in 2014. That followed three straight seasons of durability for the Dolphins and Lions.
It’s possible, of course, that Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke believe Bush is worth another gamble. But at his age and with his recent history, it doesn’t seem like a sound gamble for a franchise intent on getting a fresh start.
The 49ers need another running back to add to their mix, but it’s more likely they’ll land one through the draft or from the free-agent pool of other teams.
As Chris Wesseling of NFL.com wrote this week: “Bush is entering his NFL twilight years after averaging 3.86 yards per carry over the past two seasons. He will hit the open market as an injury-prone, 31-year-old running back best utilized as a pass-catching specialist.”
Bush told the Detroit paper that his rehabilitation is going well and that he’s scheduled to start running in two weeks. He's eager to prove his doubters are wrong.
“I’m going to get myself healthy and get back on the field again,” Bush told the Free Press.