Remember the derisively-titled Bush Bowl of New Year’s Day 2006?
The San Francisco 49ers, who entered the final game of the 2005 season with a record of 3-12, played host to the Houston Texans, who were 2-13. The loser, the thinking went, "earned" the No. 1 draft pick and, thus, the right to use said selection on Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophy-winning running back out of USC.
Bush, meanwhile, went No. 2 overall, to the New Orleans Saints and has not reached the NFL stardom expected of him nine years ago when the Texans passed on him. Bush later played for the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions, who cut him on Wednesday.
With Bush on the market, might the 49ers kick the tires on him and reimagine history had they lost to the Texans on Jan. 1, 2006, ended up with the first pick and selected Bush?
Of course, Frank Gore and the 49ers' interest in re-signing their all-time leading rusher is probably the biggest priority when it comes to their running back situation. But Bush, who turns 30 on Monday, is probably not the right fit anyway. At least, not if the 49ers' offense looks anything likes its disjointed self from last season.
Per Pro Football Focus, the 49ers attempted five screen passes to their running backs in 2014, and the running backs had 44 receptions total. With Bush more a pass-catching tailback than an every-down back, the 49ers making a run at him makes little sense.
Especially with everyone from general manager Trent Baalke to new coach Jim Tomsula promising a return to a power running scheme in 2015.
If Gore is indeed gone via free agency, as expected, Carlos Hyde figures to win the job.
In 11 games, nine starts, for the Lions last season Bush rushed for 297 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries (3.9 yards per carry average) and caught 40 passes for 253 yards. He did not have a receiving TD for the first time in his career.
Bush a 49er? Maybe as a change-of-pace back. But even then, the 49ers still have Kendall Hunter returning from a knee injury.
Fool’s gold or pay dirt? Feels more like fool’s good now, as it might have been in 2006, when he would have joined his old high school teammate Alex Smith in San Francisco.