For Saints fans, Bush's exit the end of an era


Posted on July 28, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 28 at 5:40 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS- For die-hard Saints fan Chris Hunter, the announcement Thursday that Reggie Bush is leaving New Orleans marks the end of an era.

"This is kind of like a jazz funeral for Reggie Bush without the brass band," said Hunter. "But still in all, we're here to send him off right and with respect."

The Saints traded Bush, who has agreed to a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

Thursday afternoon, Hunter shopped for Bush memorabilia, hoping to find a discount.

"I'm here to get another Reggie jersey to put in my Saints hall of fame," said Hunter, as he thumbed through jersey's with Bush's number at a Metairie sports store.

But according to store managers, few others have come in looking for gear with the tailback's name and number.

"It's pretty much really sitting here," said Chris Baker, warehouse manager at Black and Gold Sports Shop in Metairie. "Most people who come here say they're glad he's gone. It's pretty much a love-hate relationship. You either loved him or you hated him."

Pam Randazzo, the owner of Black and Gold said Bush jerseys, which once flew off the shelves when the celebrity ball player was first drafted, will be on the 50 percent off rack by Friday.

"He's going to join the 'not-here-no-more' club," said Baker.

The "club" includes former Saints tight-end Jeremy Shockey. But while the store has dozens of Shockey jerseys, there are only a handful of Bush jerseys.

Baker said, as Bush's local popularity waned, so did his merchandise sales, and in turn, the store didn't order much.

"I like Reggie," said Saints fan Art Brugier during the downtown Reginelli's lunch rush. "But honestly I don't think he performed to the standard everybody had expectations for when we picked him up."

Others said they think the trade was a good business decision.

"I'm a Reggie fan, but I'm a bigger Saints fan," said Darryl Phillips. "And I think the deal they worked out was good for the Saints because they could use that money to acquire other talent. Good for Reggie because last I heard it was $9.75 million over two years, not a bad payday for Reggie."

But for Hunter, Bush's move marks the end of an era.

"Reggie's going to be truly missed," said Hunter. "And it's a magic moment to be cherished."