After the Saints traded up to pick running back Mark Ingram at the bottom of round one and running back Reggie Bush bid (bade?) farewell to New Orleans on Twitter, speculation mounted that Bush eventually would be leaving the Saints. But just as it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that Bush would be gone not long after the lockout ends, Bush publicly declared that he hopes to remain with the team indefinitely.
And we definitely aren’t buying it.
Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports via Twitter that Bush showed up for none of the team’s six weeks of lockout workouts. As in not one.
What’s that, you say? Bush feared an injury that would have jeopardized his non-guaranteed (before Week One) $11.8 million base salary? Quarterback Drew Brees could have stayed away for the same reason. Instead, Brees led the effort. (Heck, Ingram was there — and he doesn’t even have a contract yet.)
Moreover, Bush could have come to the workouts without fully working out, doing basically the same things at Tulane University that he is doing on his own, while also continuing to demonstrate to his teammates that he intends to continue to be a member of the team.
Bush admits that, given his contract, “me, my agent and the Saints have to collectively come together to talk . . . and just come to a meeting point — a happy medium — because obviously there’s going to have to be some type of pay cut.” And he can take the high road by claiming he wants to stay with the Saints. And then he can decline whatever bottom-line offer the Saints make, forcing the Saints to cut him or risk owing the full $11.8 million, if he’s injured during training camp or the preseason.
Either way, if Bush refuses to reduce his pay to the level the Saints are offering, the Saints will cut him before the start of the regular season. Thus, he can pretend that he wants to stay in New Orleans, while figuring out his next move after the Saints let him go.
Though his failure to show up for the Saints’ lockout workouts doesn’t constitute definitive proof that he wants out, it’s safe to say that, if he truly wanted to be a Saint in 2011, he would have been with his Saints teammates during at least one day of their lockout workouts.