LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- For Deon Bush, football runs in the family.
Bush’s father, Gary, played running back at Mississippi Valley State alongside Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. The elder Bush emphasized early on to his son that he needed a strong work ethic to flourish in football.
“I mean throughout my football career, he used to take me out working out all the time,” Bush said at Chicago’s rookie camp. “He’d take me out early in the morning. So he is a big influence on my football career. He just taught me work ethic, to continue working and never get satisfied. You always got to work.
"I just want to continue to endorse my family in the best way possible.”
Renowned for a physical style of play, Bush developed into a hard-hitting safety who made 32 career starts for the Hurricanes. The Bears saw enough potential in Bush to draft him in the fourth round in late April. The rookie is expected to challenge for the vacant starting safety spot next to Adrian Amos.
“I always took pride on being physical and being tough and that’s just the way I play the game,” Bush said. “I’ve been playing like that since I was little, and I just want to keep that going. So it’s kind of like second nature. That’s how I like to play the game. I like to be physical.”
But Bush’s arrival came at a cost.
Just two days after the draft, Chicago released veteran Antrel Rolle, another former Hurricanes safety who Bush befriended in South Florida.
“Football is a business,” Bush said. “Antrel is still like a brother to me. He still called me and helped me out. That’s pretty much it. He just talked to me and still has my back through whatever. I worked out with him back in Miami. He just giving me little pointers on what to do expect and just being a pro. How to become a pro. That’s basically what he helped me with.”
Rolle, 33, lasted only one season in Chicago. An ironman before the 2015 season, Rolle played in just seven games for the Bears, suffering serious ankle and knee injuries. Rolle even blamed subpar field conditions at the team’s practice facility for the season-ending MCL tear he suffered in November.
Through it all, Rolle still managed to speak positively to Bush about the Bears.
“He said it’s a good situation with the Bears,” Bush said. “He said he liked the Bears, and he said I was walking into a good situation, good coaches, good people around here, great fan base. I’m just very thankful to be a part of this organization right now.”