METAIRIE, La. ― A day after various news outlets reported that Reggie Bush could possibly be stripped of his Heisman Trophy, the Saints running back was going through final preparations for New Orleans’ season-opener against Minnesota.
As far as the fifth-year player is concerned, the Heisman Trophy is the least of his worries.
“My focus is on the Vikings tomorrow and that's kind of where I'm at, as if this game didn't have enough distractions,” Bush said.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the news early Tuesday morning that Bush would have his 2005 Heisman Trophy taken away on the heels of an NCAA investigation into rules-violations at Southern California where Bush went to college.
However, the Heisman Trust, which oversees the trophy, issued a statement in the afternoon saying the report was wrong.
“I think at this point, it’s kind of out of my hands and whatever you guys report, you guys have to go with that,” Bush said.
For Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, what has stood out is how his running back has handled all the attention the story has garnered. He only wishes the timing wasn’t so poor.
“It has been ongoing since he has arrived,” Payton said. “Certainly from a timing standpoint, you get disappointed. It’s just a report. But his focus and his maturity level has been fantastic. He has had a great training camp.
“He’s smart enough to understand the challenges this team we’re playing presents let alone trying to answer any of his critics. I think he’s getting ready to play well and have a good season.”
But Payton wouldn’t say much more, adding, “I’ll leave it at that or else I’ll say something I shouldn’t.”
Bush has had what he and Payton are saying is his best training camp since becoming a professional. He’s healthy for the first time since his rookie season.