NEW YORK – Running back Reggie Bush's(notes) days with the New Orleans Saints all but came to an end Thursday night when the team selected running back Mark Ingram with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft.
"It's been fun New Orleans," Bush posted on his Twitter page Thursday night.
Bush was not expected to return to the Saints next season regardless of what the team did because he has so far declined to take a pay cut when the subject was broached before the NFL lockout began. Bush is due approximately $11.8 million in the 2011 season in base salary and bonuses.
Bush said in January that he didn't expect to return to the team. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, he played a critical role in reviving the Saints after Hurricane Katrina and helped the team to the Super Bowl title in the 2009 season. However, Bush was constantly limited by injuries and never developed into a consistent pure running back. He played in only 60 of 80 regular-season games and missed eight games with a broken leg last season. He was more successful as a pass receiver, but the Saints aren't expected to keep him just for that skill at his current price, a source familiar with the situation said.
In five years, Bush rushed 524 times for 2,090 yards and caught 294 passes for 2,142 yards. He scored 29 touchdowns combined on offense.
Bush was a favorite of coach Sean Payton, who defended him constantly as Bush was shrouded in controversy from his days at the University of Southern California and eventually returned his Heisman Trophy.
After Ingram was selected, the source said, "This just makes the whole thing easier for everybody."
- Mark Ingram