Saints RB Reggie Bush met with the media following this morning's two hour practice. Below is a transcript of the media session.
*What are your goals for this season? *"My goals are to be as effective as possible, get better from last year as a team and personally, just taking it day by day, and not trying to do too much. Knowing my role, and becoming a better player fundamentally and starting from the basics. Taking it from there. Being a leader, and leading by example."
*Are you looking to swim through the distractions? *"Yeah. I would like to think that I am pretty mentally tough, and I don't let outside distractions affect me out on the football field. On the field, it's all football. I try to remember that every time I step on this field that it's our sanctuary. This is our place to just forget everything and play football and do what we love to do and not worry about anything else. Once practice or a game is over, then you can worry about whatever."
**Does it bother you that USC stripped you from the hall?
"Well, I think I would be lying if I said that it didn't. Obviously it does. At the end of the day, it is what it is. All I can do now if focus on the New Orleans Saints and really just move on. Obviously, like I said, it bothers me, the whole situation is terrible, and nobody feels worse about it than I do. At the same time, I can't dwell on the negative. I do have a job to do, and I do have a whole organization and city riding on my back. Not just my back, but the team."
*Do you hope that at some point that the relationship can be repaired? *"Of course. I hope someday, at some point, it can be repaired. We will see what happens, that's all I can do."
How healthy are you and how many carries do you expect to get this season?"This has been my first healthy offseason in two years. It feels great to not have to go through any rehab or surgeries or anything like that. Last year, for the majority of the season, I was recovering and I was slowly but surely getting back in to football and I didn't want to overdo it too much too quickly. Once you saw a healthy me, you saw a more explosive me, back to myself and I think that was evident in the postseason. Hopefully, we will start off on a good note in the preseason, and we'll see how it goes. We are taking it one day at a time. I'm not trying to worry about the end of the season or the middle of the season, we need to worry about practice this afternoon and go from there."
*I heard you mention that you are in the best shape of your career. What do you credit that to? *"Being healthy. Like I said, I was injured the past two years, and the offseason felt like an eternity. Just staying in the training rooms, rehabbing constantly, and seeing doctors here and there. Now I get a chance to come out here healthy, and be myself right off the bat. Now I'm not working just to get back to ground zero. Now I'm working towards getting better and better every day."
*When you were in a position to defend a title at USC, how hard was it? *"It's tough. This is one of the toughest things that we are going to have to face. This season will be even tougher than any season we've faced since I have been here. Everybody is looking to knock us off. Everybody wants a piece of the Super Bowl defending champs. So, we are going to have a target on our backs. We are going to have play every game like it is a Super Bowl game. We are going to get everybody's A game."
Are you willing to share the punt return duties with Lance and Tracy?"I'm willing to do whatever they want me to do. Since I have been here I have been sharing time, why stop now?"
How would that work?"You know, I'm not sure. That's Coach Payton's decision. I just do what he tells me."
How similar were Pete (Carroll) and Sean's (Payton) message considering the repeat talk?"The thing about Coach Carroll and Sean Payton that I see are very similar is that they are extremely good motivators. Just from the talking points in the classroom and on the field. Just keeping us fundamentally sound, and mentally tough. Just knowing that we are going to be in for a dog fight this year even starting from the first preseason game. Talking about being a dynasty, not being a one-time defender. Being like the Bears of the 80's, the 49ers of the 90's, the Patriots of the early 2000's. Just trying to get better every day, every year and that's all we can do."
*Is that the words he used, dynasty? *"I think it's kind of a universal theme. Just trying to be a dynasty, not just a one-time defender. This is a special time for us right now. We feel like we have all the pieces to the puzzle right now to be a contender every year. It's up to us to make that happen, to be able to make those playoff pushes every year and to just be one of the top teams in our division and our conference."
*Have we seen you healthy for a full season yet? *"I think my rookie year. Other than that, I don't think so. I'm my biggest critic. Nobody is going to expect more out of me, than me. In the back of my mind, I know that I want this so bad. Just to have a healthy season. I know that if I'm healthy all year, I can be effective every game. Just get better and better all throughout the year. Obviously, every year is a different year. Every year is a new year. You can't dwell on it. You can't use what happened last year. It's a totally different season, and teams get better and other teams get worse. You never know where you will end up. All we can do is focus on the now."
*Where do you think you were at last year, percentage wise? *"This time last year, I would say I was around 75%. I wasn't even going through two-a-days last year. I was only doing one practice a day and it was limited reps. Even throughout the beginning of the season, I was still getting my knee drained. I still had swelling and was still battling the rehab part of it. At the same time, I was trying to be affective. It was tough. Us athletes, the biggest thing we have on our side is our confidence, our self-confidence. When you don't really have that, you are battling injury, and you are trying to play, that kind of chips away at you. You are just a normal person at that time."
How critical are your knees to the way you run?"My knees, my feet, and everything down here are the keys to my success. As long as I have that on my side and healthy, I will be pretty good."
Are you limited at all? Do you wear a brace?"I don't wear a brace at all. I don't wear anything. I just wear these little sleeves. That's it. I really don't wear anything."
You talked about USC, you talked about the Super Bowl. How would you describe this offseason with the highs and the lows?"It has been a rollercoaster offseason. I'm back here on the football field, in front of the Who Dat Nation, the fans, and this is where I love to be. This I live for everyday, to be out here just working toward a championship every year, just trying to get my best, just making a difference."
What do you think of Charles Brown?"I think he's going to be good. I think he's great. Obviously, he's going to come along slow and he's got a great group of core veterans to help him along. I think he'll be fine. He's going to fit in to this offense very easily."
As a man who catches punts, what do you think about Jeremy Shockey punting the ball after a play today?"You know, I said to Drew that it's funny that fans are cheering for what would be a 15-yard penalty or a possible ejection in a game."