Michael Bush: Is a Return to the Oakland Raiders Possible?
Bush suffered a nasty injury to his right leg as a senior. That dropped his stock from a top-10 pick in the NFL draft to a mid- to late-round pick. He was passed up by every team up until the fourth round, where the Oakland Raiders drafted him 100th overall. Still recovering from his injury, Bush sat out the entire 2007 season.
Things only got worse. The Raiders had used their fourth overall selection to draft Darren McFadden to be their franchise running back. Behind Justin Fargas and McFadden, Bush saw limited playing time. As a third-string back, Bush showed what he was capable of by finishing the 2008 season with 421 rushing yards and a 4.4 average.
The next year showed more signs of hope. Fargas was starting to slow down while the coaching staff began to work the young backs more. While McFadden struggled to adapt to the pro game, Bush flourished. Bush had outran McFadden by 232 yards, scored two more touchdowns and averaged 1.4 more yards a carry.
The 2010 season was destined to be Bush's breakout year. Unfortunately, it was the other running back that broke out. McFadden exploded onto the scene, rushing for 1,157 yards with a 5.2 rushing average.
Still, there was hope. Bush's power game complemented McFadden well and he was able to rush for over 650 yards. He did see his average dip down to a career low 4.1 yards, however.
Bush's contract year did not promise much at the season's start. McFadden was coming off his best year as a pro and the NFL seemed to notice. He continued his rampage in 2011 when he ran for 614 yards in just seven games. Hands down, McFadden was one of the top offensive players in the first seven games in 2011.
But McFadden's usual season injury came and Bush seemed to strike gold. Going down with a Lisfranc injury, Bush had his chance to shine. Bush started his campaign as a starter by totaling almost 400 yards in his first two games.
The rest of the season did not come so easily for Bush. Over the next seven games, Bush ran past the century mark only once. He averaged over four yards a carry only once. He scored only three rushing touchdowns in those seven games.
The season ended and free agency came. Bush went out and talked to teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals were the only team that guaranteed a starting job. They were also the best fit for Bush as they previously had Cedric Benson, who has a similar running style as Bush.
However, it was reported that the Bengals had signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Like that, the team that Bush seemed like a perfect match for has moved on. Bush has seen his market dwindle faster than Jacoby Ford's 40-yard dash.
That leads to the question, would Michael Bush be open to a return to Oakland? Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times has played with the idea lately and it seems like it is a possibility.
Bush is not a great number one. He lacks breakaway speed, yet is not capable of moving the pile on every down like a great power back should. He is, however, a great complement to the speed backs of the Oakland Raiders and had his best years under Greg Knapp's zone blocking system.
Bush has taken a big hit to his pride and coming back to the Silver and Black would be very humbling. That may open up the idea that he will return for a lower price than he had initially demanded. The team wants him back, but it's on him to return without the high price of a feature back.
Bush is a serviceable back that fits well with what the Raiders are doing. Hopefully, he realizes that his best fit is with the Oakland Raiders. Once that happens, the two sides can meet and get things under way, once again giving the Raiders one of the top rushing backfields in the NFL.
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