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Jim Tomsula happy Reggie Bush joined his 'crew'

PHOENIX -- The question, when the San Francisco 49ers first began kicking the tires on Reggie Bush, went like this: How in the world would he fit when his skill set as a pass-catching running back hardly matched what the Niners did on offense in 2014?

After all, while Bush caught 40 passes last season, the Niners attempted five screen passes to their running backs, with their running backs catching four passes total, according to Pro Football Focus.

So when Bush signed a one-year deal to come to Santa Clara, it was apparent that both sides were satisfied with how Bush would be used in a revamped offense. Plus, Bush would be rejoining Tony Sparano, the Niners’ new tight ends coach who was Bush’s head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2011.

“Reggie can be an every-down back; he’s done that in the NFL,” new Niners coach Jim Tomsula said at the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I don’t know that we’re looking at it that way.

“Reggie’s a very good space player. Reggie can, it’s well-documented, his third-down, his skill set on third downs. Reggie’s a running back. He’s not a gadget guy, in my opinion. Reggie Bush is a running back, and I’m really excited about Reggie joining the crew.”

Bush, 30, joins second-year player Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter, who missed the 2014 season with an ACL injury after Frank Gore, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, left for the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.

“Everybody understands right now we’ve got three guys in the backfield that we feel great about,” Tomsula said. “And they’re all just a little bit different from each other.”

Bush, though, is the most intriguing piece to the puzzle, given his skill set as a pass-catcher. His 466 career receptions for 3,489 yards and 18 touchdowns lead active running backs, to go along with 5,465 career rushing yards and 35 TDs, on 1,266 carries and a 4.3 yards-per-carry average.

Tomsula made a point to emphasize that the 49ers would “accentuate” players’ strengths this season.