Skip to main content

Bush Details Payton’s Answer When Agent Told Saints Not to Draft Him

Reggie Bush spent 11 seasons with five different teams in his NFL career. However, the first five years of his pro football career started as an electrifying asset to the Saints’ franchise in 2006, a team that was invigorated and emotional a year after the devastation and catastrophic damage of Hurricane Katrina.

However, before the Saints drafted Bush at No. 2 in the 2006 NFL draft following an exciting college football career at USC, he spent the months leading up to the draft thinking that he was going to be selected as the first pick to the Texans. But on April 28, 2006, the night before the draft, the Texans changed their plans and then Saints coach Sean Payton wanted Bush in New Orleans.

“My agent had been talking to Houston’s GM Charley Casserly at the time… the entire process,” Bush said recently on the I AM ATHLETE podcast. “You know when you go to the [NFL] Combine… I didn’t even interview with the other 31 teams because they was like he was not going to be here. I only spoke to Houston. That’s it. … I am thinking… I am going to Houston, looking for property down there already.”

When Houston instead chose Mario Williams with the No. 1 pick that year, the Texans did not give any prior warning to Bush. “They didn’t call us, no nothing,” he added.

With the Texans off the board, New Orleans was up next and the Jets at No. 3. At the time, only eight months removed from Katrina, the Saints were without a home stadium as the Superdome was being restored following the hurricane. As a result, Bush’s agent felt like New Orleans was not the best option for him. “My agents were like, ‘We want to go to New York.’ Third pick, big city, marketing, a lot more money,” Bush added.

Bush was sold on the idea, and his agent told Payton not to draft the standout running back. Payton did not care and clearly had other plans.

“Sean [Payton] was like verbatim, ‘F— you. I’m drafting Reggie Bush.’ And hung the phone up,” Bush said.

Bush was a dynamic piece on the ground as a receiver in the Saints’ offense and in the special teams unit. He went on to win a Super Bowl (XLIV) four season later in 2010 behind the play of a high-powered offense led by Drew Brees and a defense that was tenacious in forcing turnovers that season.

More NFL Coverage: