JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Running back Reggie Bush wasn’t going to let a freak accident on the concrete surface ringing the Edward Jones Dome field in St. Louis end his career.READ MORE: Belle Isle Park Reopens Giant Slide Friday
Declaring his surgically repaired left knee 100 percent, Bush eagerly looked forward to the opportunity of playing an 11th NFL season — and on his fifth team — after signing a one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills on Monday.
“I’m in shape. I’m full strength. I’m ready to go,” Bush said during a news conference at the Bills training camp facility in suburban Rochester. “It feels good to be back on a team and back to playing football.”
The 31-year-old Bush has reason to be upbeat some nine months since tearing his meniscus ligament in St. Louis. It happened while he was pushed out of bounds while returning a punt and lost his footing on the concrete before sliding into the padded wall of the stands.
“I thought my career could be over. Those were my initial thoughts,” he said.
Instead, Bush joins a Rex Ryan-coached, run-first-oriented offense that led the league in rushing last season, and a team with a hole to fill in its return game.
Bush expects to take part in practice Tuesday, and estimates it’ll take him no more than a week to become accustomed to his new surroundings, teammates, coaches and playbook.
“I guess the good thing is I’ve been around long enough where I’ve pretty much been through every offensive system possible,” he said.
Bush traveled to Buffalo to take a physical in the morning and then met with Bills officials at training camp before signing his contract.
“We are always looking to improve our roster,” general manager Doug Whaley said. “We had targeted Reggie because we feel a player of his caliber can help us in a variety of areas.”
The question is how much Bush has left in him after injuries hampered much of his career since being selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft. Bush has played 16 games in a season just twice and been limited to playing 29 games over the past three years.
“The competitor in me says forever, but realistically, I don’t know,” Bush said, when asked how much longer he thinks he can play. “I’m just happy to be back to football. And after this season, and granted that I’m able to stay healthy, I’ll make a decision after that.”
When healthy, Bush is a dynamic threat as a rusher, receiver and returner. He’s topped 1,000 yards rushing twice, most recently in 2013, when he had 1,006 yards in 14 games with Detroit.
When adding in his production as a receiver, Bush has surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage five times in a career that began with New Orleans and included a two-year stint in Miami.READ MORE: Woodward Dream Cruise Kicks Off This Weekend: What To Know
Bush’s versatility fits several Bills’ needs, including special teams.
Buffalo lacked a return specialist last season and failed to address the need this offseason.
“Hey, let’s be honest, that’s somewhere we want to be better at,” Ryan said, assessing Buffalo’s return game after practice Monday. “That certainly wasn’t our strength last year.”
Bush has been used mostly as a punt returner. His best season came in 2008 with New Orleans, when he returned 20 punts for 270 yards and scored three of his four career touchdowns.
He can also provide experienced depth behind LeSean McCoy.
Backup Karlos Williams will miss the first four games of the season after the NFL suspended him for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The remainder of Buffalo’s backfield is made up of mostly unproven players, including Mike Gillislee, Daniel Herron and James Wilder Jr., the son of former Buccaneers fullback James Wilder.
There’s also rookie fifth-round pick Jonathan Williams, who faces potential discipline after being arrested in Arkansas two weeks ago on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.
Bush said he’s had no previous relationship with McCoy, but is eager to build one.
“I’m a fan,” Bush said. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool to have both of us back there making some plays.”
The Bills also signed free-agent receiver Kain Colter, who has yet to play an NFL game since completing his college career in Northwestern in 2013. In four college seasons playing quarterback, Colter combined to score 50 touchdowns, with 18 of them passing, four receiving and 28 rushing.
To make room on their roster, the Bills released receiver Davonte Allen and kicker Marshall Morgan.
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