Reggie Bush knows what it’s like to be at the top in football. From a Super Bowl with the Saints to a Championship era at USC, the veteran tailback has seen his share of celebrations of the highest order. However now he is faced with a different challenge, that of being a veteran leader on a very young Miami Dolphins team, both on and off the field. That role has been decidedly different from anything else he has experienced, especially in the glare of the South beach lights for Joe Philbin’s rebuilding ‘Fins.
What is it like? We caught up with Bush to talk football, business and life in Miami.
This offseason saw a lot of change in the Dolphins franchise, almost a start over in many ways. What has that been like, and what was it like going through that transition with the Hard Knocks experience front and center this training camp?
We are a young team and we have to stay focused on what’s going on despite the distractions. My biggest piece of advice to the younger guys is keep you inner circle small and to stay focused as there will be a lot of people trying to distract you. As far as the difference in coaching styles, it is a different atmosphere around any head coach, whether it was Sean Payton in New Orleans or Coach Sparano or Coach Philbin here in Miami now. It is really all about preparation and being ready no matter who the head coach is thought. That has to come from you to lead as the example. I’ve always prepared myself the same way no matter what my role in the game plan is going to be. I’ve always known I can carry the load as a running back but I’ll be ready no matter what Coach Philbin needs me to do. It’s all about preparation and being ready to go and that’s what we need to do to be successful in this league. No excuses.
As far as “Hard Knocks” goes, it was definitely an interesting experience. I don’t know if it’s good or bad but we made the best of it and tried not make it a distraction. The cameras really stayed out of our way and tried not to interfere with our daily work.
What is it like being a senior leader on a very young team?
I love being one of the veteran leaders on this team and am trying to embrace that role. It’s important to show the young guys how to go about your business, be professional, and show up each and every day prepared to work. As far as a young team, Ryan Tannehill is so smart for a young QB and handles himself very well. He doesn’t get rattled when things don’t go his way and stays very composed in the pocket. It has been a big part of our early season success.
The Heat brought a championship to Miami, the Marlins created a lot of buzz in the early season, is Miami still a Dolphins town too?
Oh definitely. We just need to win. There is nothing bigger than the NFL and once we start winning football games there will be a lot of excitement around Miami. The Heat lead by example, there was excitement here with the Marlins opening a new stadium, but fans in South Florida have always loved the Dolphins and our tradition, we just need to get back to that tradition of winning and I think we are getting there.
As you have gotten older you have become more involved in off-field endeavors, tell us about one?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten wiser. I now know your team off the field reflects you and your personal brand as much as your team on the field, so I’m very selective with who and what I work with across the board. One new partner that stands out for me is MISSION Athletecare. I really respect what they’re doing with and for athletes, and I like the idea that my input shapes new products they develop. They have an insane focus on innovation for athletes and solving problems we face in training and competition, and I love how they take my feedback into the development process. Their Power Grip product to prevent sweaty hands and their Anti-Chafe product for preventing friction were huge for me. It’s not something we talk about or even complain about, but sweaty hands can make a huge difference in your performance, just as chaffing can get in your way as well. The other product I used religiously was the MISSION EnduraCool towels. The EnduraCool (cooling) towel is the most insane technology I’ve seen in a long time, and trust me, overheating is a BIG problem for football players at every age. I wish more sports brands worked like MISSION, we’d have better products available for athletes.
By the way it is not just all about business. We as athletes have to be focused on giving back, and I’m involved with several different charities including but not limited to St. Jude, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Meals on Wheels.
How do you compare living and playing in New Orleans vs. Miami?
I love New Orleans and had a great time living there for 5 years. I never ate better in my life and have tons of memories that I will always have. We gave the city and the people something that they may get again in a Championship but being there for the first one after all that the region went through was unforgettable. Miami has been a great experience and it is still growing on my. Its reminds me a lot of living in LA and I can see myself living here even after I retire. Probably some different distractions, but a lot of fun and great people.
Any predictions on the rest of the season?
Some people have said we have surprised people thus far, but I think we still have a long way to go. I have been part of championship teams from the bottom up and that’s our goal here. Now there is no way to make predictions and back them up as an individual, but we will keep improving and if we can stay healthy I think people will enjoy watching the Dolphins more and more each week.