Reggie Bush: Heisman matter ‘out of my hands’
METAIRIE, La. – Reggie Bush declined to go into any detail Wednesday on what he knows about the status of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
“At this point, it’s kind of out of my hands,” Bush said Wednesday after practice with the New Orleans Saints.
Bush said he could not “confirm or deny” whether he has met with anyone from the Heisman Trophy Trust and deferred comment to the trust when asked about a Yahoo! report that said he could be stripped of the award by the end of the month.
“If I’m not mistaken, I believe the Heisman Trust people released a statement saying whatever was (reported) yesterday was inaccurate, so that’s where we’re at,” he said.
On Tuesday, trust executive director Robert Whalen told The Associated Press that there has been no decision on the status of Bush’s Heisman.
The NCAA found major violations in USC’s football program and levied serious sanctions against the school in June, including the loss of scholarships and a two-year bowl ban. The Trojans have dissociated themselves from Bush, who was accused of accepting money and other benefits from sports agents.
Losing the Heisman could further tarnish Bush’s legacy, although Bush noted, “On the field, play speaks for itself.”
“That’s for the fans to kind of make their minds up about,” he added.
The NFL’s 2010 regular season kicks off on Thursday night when the Saints host the Minnesota Vikings.
With the rematch of last season’s NFC championship game looming, Bush said he hasn’t even thought about whether he’d actually return the trophy if officially stripped of the award.
“Here we are the day before the biggest game of the new season and that’s where my focus is,” Bush said. “It’s a big game. We’re playing the Minnesota Vikings. It’s going to be crazy. So that’s where my focus is now. I’ve said all that I want to say and everything else has to play itself out. … It’s an unfortunate situation for everybody, including the kids at USC.”
Bush said he has not spoken to anyone at Southern Cal “for a while.” He said he remains friends with Trojans coach Lane Kiffin and talks with him on occasion, but added that he hasn’t “spoken to anybody regarding this specific stuff.”
Titans quarterback Vince Young finished second in the Heisman balloting in 2005 before beating Bush’s Trojans in the BCS national championship game. He refused to get drawn into any discussion about the Heisman potentially being available.
“I really don’t kind of know what’s going on, just kind of heard a little bit about it,” Young said. “But no comment. Really no comment about it right now.”
When asked if he would accept the Heisman if offered to him:
“No comment right now, no comment,” Young repeated.
Saints coach Sean Payton appeared annoyed that the report came out two days before his club’s first regular season game, although he said he was not concerned it would affect Bush’s play.
“He has done a great job of dealing with that,” 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.”
AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this report from Nashville, Tenn.