METAIRIE, La. -- I just sent a story to our news desk that will run under the headlines section momentarily on New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush addressing the controversy involving him and the University of Southern California.
It was the first time Bush talked publicly since USC returned its copy of his Heisman Trophy and took other measures to distance itself from one of its all-time great players.
Here’s some of what Bush had to say.
“I like to think that I’m pretty mentally tough and I never allow any outside distraction to affect me on the football field,’’ Bush said Saturday as the Saints went through their second day of training camp. “Once I step on the field, it’s all football. I try to remember that every time I step on this field. This is kind of like our sanctuary. This is where we get a chance to kind of forget about everything and play football, do what we love to do and not worry about anything else.’’
Although he said he is focusing on football, Bush admitted he is bothered by the way the university has distanced itself from him.
“I think I’d be lying if I said it didn’t,’’ Bush said. “Obviously, it does, but at the end of the day it is what it is. All I can really do now is focus on the New Orleans Saints and just try to move on. It bothers me and it sucks. The whole situation is terrible and nobody feels worse about it than I do. But, at the same time, I can’t dwell on the negatives because I do have a job to do and I have a whole organization and a city riding on my back, not necessarily my back, but the team’s back.’’
Bush also said he hopes his relationship with USC doesn’t remain fractured forever.
“I hope someday at some point it can be repaired,’’ Bush said. “We’ll see what happens. That’s all I can do.’’