In response to Jason Cole’s report that Saints running back Reggie Bush received permission in February to talk to other teams, WWL radio opted to go straight to the Bush’s mouth for confirmation. Or otherwise.
They got the otherwise.
The question from WWL, via text: “Yahoo sports is reporting that the saints gave u permission back in February to gauge interest of other teams for u. Is that accurate?”
The response: “Lol! Absolutely not!”
Then: “just so I have this right u were never given permission to gauge interest of other teams? Right?”
The reply: “For the second time no.”
(And then the cock crowed.)
There are, in our view, four possible explanations. First, Cole is wrong and Reggie is right. Second, Cole is right, the permission had been given directly to his agent, Joel Segal, and Bush didn’t know about it. Third, Cole is right and Bush knows it and Bush decided to lie for the sake of lying. Fourth, Cole is right and Bush knows it but Bush panicked and denied it because the Saints insisted that the information be concealed.
Regardless of whether Bush didn’t know, whether he lied because he likes it, or whether he was simply trying to keep his word to keep it secret, we suspect that Cole’s report is accurate. With Reggie due to earn a base salary of $11.8 million in 2011 and with the Saints surely unwilling to pay that much money for a third-down back and kick returner, the Saints likely believe that, in the end, they’ll offer as much or more for a part-time player than any other team would be willing to spend.
Of course, the fact that the Saints could be the highest bidder doesn’t mean that they’ll get the contract. Bush, a marketing dynamo with no need for money, can make his decision for reasons other than the price tag.
Finally, as to the notion that the Saints gave Bush permission to talk to other teams in advance of a possible trade, we can’t imagine Bush agreeing to rework his contract when, as a practical matter, the Saints surely won’t let him take a rep in training camp under his current deal, given the reality that a torn ACL would cost Bush the season — and the Saints the full $11.8 million.
So look for everyone to continue to say the right thing. Right until the second training camp opens, and the Saints part ways with the second overall pick in the 2006 draft.