Reggie Bush rewrites his draft night narrative, exposing the hidden hand of a private investigator in why he wasn't the No. 1 overall pick. (Credit: The Dan Patrick Show)

Reggie Bush is widely considered one of the greatest college football players. However, he couldn’t live up to that billing during his time in the NFL; the New Orleans Saints selected Bush with the second overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. And while Bush won a Super Bowl in 2009 and several highlight moments, his career never reached the heights of his time at USC.

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about his legacy, with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) at the forefront of the college football landscape. Bush saw his Heisman Trophy Award vacated after discovering that he had received improper benefits, including allegedly accepting rent-free housing from an agent and receiving $300,000 from two sports marketers.

It is commonly believed that Bush gained more notoriety during his college career than during his time in the NFL. And Dan Patrick even asked the former Southern Cal running back if the league was a letdown after playing his college ball at USC.

However, it’s possible that his career could have gone differently if the Houston Texans had selected him instead of NC State defensive end Mario Williams, as many people had anticipated.

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, the former Fox Sports on-air analyst set the record straight on his fame. He told Patrick that when he got to New Orleans, there was an “explosion” of the fanbase welcoming him with open arms — not six months removed from Hurricane Katrina.

Bush coming to New Orleans was a huge deal.

“It was one of my favorite moments,” Bush said. “You talk about surreal moments; that was a surreal moment, me going to New Orleans because I was supposed to be the No. 1 draft pick – I don’t know if you remember. Mario Williams ended up being the No. 1 draft pick. I actually found out the same way everybody else found out; I found out on SportsCenter.”

Patrick asked Bush if it was because the 11-year pass rusher was “signable.” But Bush put that narrative to bed, opting to tell Patrick the truth instead.

“You wanna know the truth? The truth is with (former Houston Texans general manager) Charlie Casserly,” Bush told Patrick. “He hasn’t talked about it. We actually had the opportunity to discuss it when I was working for NFL Network because one of the executives found out the truth, and I hadn’t even known the truth yet about why I didn’t go to Houston. Apparently, it was because they hired a private investigator to investigate me during the Heisman Trophy debacle that was happening at that time.

“An investigator came back and said that I was a bad guy, I had bad character, I was a street kid, and that they shouldn’t sign me; they shouldn’t draft me. And so, this is a story that I’m getting from one of the executives at NFL Network. They wanted to do this 1-on-1 with me and Charlie Casselry and just kind of talk about it. At first, Casserly said yeah, and then he ended up backing out because I think he understood it probably wasn’t going to look good for him.”

If Bush hadn’t been labeled a “bad guy” by a private investigator, would his NFL career have unfolded differently? And what would have happened had Bush and Casserly ever had an NFL Network televised sit down to talk about the decision making process? It’s a final twist on Bush’s draft saga that leaves lingering questions that may never be fully answered.

[The Dan Patrick Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.