You've heard it one million times whether he was on or off the field: "He's got to earn that paycheck."
And he did. The now-former New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush finished his career with the team officially this morning as a football superstar, having helped send the team to its first Super Bowl appearance and victory, not to mention its post-Katrina resurrection, alongside quarterback Drew Brees. He earned it with repeated injuries and blown-out knees and the longest postseason touchdown run ever by a Saint (against the Arizona Cardinals in 2010). He earned it as the headline-grabbing celebrity and attention-bringer to the formerly struggling team and as a charitable player committed to the city, the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. He earned it in the tabloids, and he earned it as the most frequently verbally flogged and "overrated" Saint without a Pro Bowl or 600 rushing yards in a season. And he earned it as both the Saints' offensive red herring and the once-in-a-career playmaker.
That didn't stop the constant mid-game commentary from fans groaning and yelling at the TV (or field) when Bush zigged when he should've zagged, or ran sideways and not forward, or got hit and was sidelined for weeks with an ice pack or surgery.
After news broke of a possible deal late last night and confirmed this morning, NOLA.com asked what fans will do with their Bush jerseys. Some responded like normal human beings, others said they'd burn, trash or unceremoniously destroy their No. 25. Twitter user and SaintsBlog.com writer Jason Bernos tweeted his response: "You feel the heat in South Beach, Reggie?", followed with, "I just felt like wasting money like he did. That's it."
If he changes his mind, the NFL store still has 'em up for sale. Despite his performance problems, pay grade and Twitter grumblings, Bush made his first NFL touchdown as a Saint, and he got a Super Bowl ring as one, too. As much as bitter fans want to disown him, the Saints made him.
See you on the field, Reggie.