LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — When the Detroit Lions finish practicing, Reggie Bush breaks another sweat.
Bush caught some extra passes from a machine, jogged the length of the field several times and hit a blocking sled Sunday.
The running back was the last one remaining on the field Saturday, sprinting from one sideline to the other.
Bush isn’t trying to impress anyone for a new contract — he’s just starting a $16 million, four-year deal — but he’s putting in the extra work because that’s what he has always done and it has served him well.
“It helps me mentally and physically to prepare for the long haul of the season,” Bush said Sunday. “It’s not a sprint. It’s a long-distance race.”
Most NFL running backs don’t last as long as he has because of the pounding they take. The average length of a running back’s career in league history is 3.3 seasons, according to STATS.
Bush has more than doubled that so far, and doesn’t see the end of his career coming any time soon.
“I feel good at this stage of my career,” he said. “When I was in New Orleans, I wasn’t getting 25, 30 carries a game. I was doing a lot of different stuff, so I didn’t get beat up early in my career. The last two years in Miami was the first time I experienced the 20-to-25 carry range. I felt good and really played injury-free both seasons.
“I still feel like I have a lot to prove and a lot of football left in me. I’m just getting started.”
The Lions hope he’s right and are banking on him giving the team what Jahvid Best did before concussions cut short his career. Detroit has lacked a speedy, big-play threat from the backfield since Best sustained perhaps his last concussion in a football game during the 2011 season. The Lions released Best two weeks ago.
Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch played against Bush in 2007, when he scored two touchdowns on the ground in the Tennessee-New Orleans game, and he’s glad they’re teammates instead of opponents.
“He’s been a phenomenal player everywhere he’s been from USC to New Orleans to Miami,” Tulloch said. “He’s so elusive that when he’s 1 on 1 with anybody, he’s a mismatch for the defense. I think he’s lasted in the league so long because it’s tough to get a full, flush hit on him and because he obviously knows what it takes to take care of his body. Just look at him over there, putting in work even though he’s already made a lot of money and established himself in the league. He’s been doing that every day.”
When Tulloch was talking, Bush was among the handful of running backs working on their blocking techniques without a coach around.
It wasn’t for show.
On the second day of training camp, Bush and rookie running back Steven Miller were running sprints across the field while the rest of the team was in or headed to the locker room.
“I’ve been looking up to Reggie since I he was at USC,” Miller said. “So, it’s a blessing to be his teammate, especially because he has put me under his wing. He has shown me how to put myself in tough situations when I’m catching punts, to prepare me for what might happen in a game, and by running gassers after practice.
“The things that have made him great, he’s sharing with young guys like me.”
NOTES: The Lions took another hit in their secondary, losing CB Jonte Green with an injured right hamstring, a day after CB Ron Bartell hurt his right shoulder enough to keep him out of Sunday’s practice. … The general public will have access to practice Monday for the first time during training camp.
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