Michael Bush to turn pro, forgo return to Louisville

Updated: January 9, 2007, 1:40 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Louisville running back Michael Bush announced Tuesday he will enter the NFL draft instead of returning to the Cardinals.

Michael Bush
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesMichael Bush, seen here before his 2006 season was cut short by a broken leg, won't return to Louisville for 2007.
The news was first reported by ESPN.com's Pat Forde, who also reported that Louisville has agreed to terms with Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe on a five-year deal to replace Bobby Petrino.

"I loved my time here at U of L, but I think it's time for me to move on," Bush told reporters.

Bush said coach Bobby Petrino's decision to leave the team was a factor in his decision. Petrino resigned Sunday to become head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

"When coach Petrino signed that deal, I didn't really want to play with nobody else," he said.

Bush was touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate this season after running for 1,143 yards and an NCAA-leading 23 touchdowns as a junior in 2005. He ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns in little over a half against Kentucky, but broke his right leg after being tackled by Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard early in the third quarter.

Bush told reporters last month that his rehabilitation was going well, though he continues to walk with a slight limp and has yet to begin running.

"I had concerns if I came back, maybe if I had got hurt again next year, could I live out my dream of playing at the next level," he said Tuesday.

The Cardinals went 12-1 this season, winning the Big East title and the Orange Bowl. Louisville junior quarterback Brian Brohm has yet to announce whether he will return to the Cardinals next season.

Bush said he's heard from NFL personnel that he could go sometime between the first and third rounds. He is planning to spend the next few months rehabbing the leg in Arizona in hopes of being able to run for NFL scouts prior to April's draft.

"If I can't run in March, maybe I fall to the third," Bush said. "That is a chance I am willing to take."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.