Bush to return punts Sunday
Wednesday, 4 p.m.
By Jimmy Smith
Saints tailback Reggie Bush said Wednesday he'll return punts in Sunday's season-opener against the Cleveland Browns.
In special teams drills over the last five weeks, Bush has lined up as the No. 1 punt returner, but he has seen no action in New Orleans' four exhibition games.
"I feel good about that," Bush said Wednesday. "I'm ready to return punts, get the ball in my hands and make a big play."
Bush was a multitasker in college at Southern California, returning 44 punts for the Trojans for a 12.7 per-return average and three touchdowns. He also returned 67 kickoffs for 1,522 yards and one score, but said he won't return kicks against the Browns.
Bush said he'd spoken with Saints coach Sean Payton about the possibility of returning punts in the exhibition season, but Payton decided to be cautious and keep Bush on the sideline.
"He just wanted to save me," Bush said. "He didn't feel it was necessary. He told me the story about (the Giants') Jason Sehorn returning a punt in the preseason and getting hurt and he was out for the season. It's all about keeping me healthy."
Bush obviously will be more involved in the Saints' gameplan against the Browns, but he said he didn’t know to what extent.
"I don't know how many times I'll touch the ball," he said. "This is a new team, a new coaching staff, a new season. I'm just not sure."
Yet Bush said he, and his teammates, were well-prepared for their NFL regular-season debuts.
"I definitely feel we got better as an offense," Bush said. "We learned some things. We made some mistakes, but I feel like it's better to make them early and learn from them as opposed to doing it during the season."
"I'd rather (make mistakes) during the preseason than have gone through things doing it all perfect and then all of a sudden the mistakes come during the regular season. We've grown a lot. Obviously, you've got such limited time in the preseason with the ones. You don't have the whole game to kind of work on those during the game. We feel like we've grown as a team.”
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