Bush takes part in impromptu workout for Jets
Amid speculation that the Houston Texans will not select Reggie Bush with the top pick in the 2006 NFL draft, the New York Jets on Tuesday morning undertook a bit of creative due diligence, perhaps preparing for the still-unlikely possibility that the Southern California tailback might be available to them.
• NFL draft: RBs
ESPN.com has learned that Jets officials, following their previously scheduled meeting with Bush in Los Angeles, asked if he would participate in an impromptu workout for them. And Bush, on very short notice, acquiesced to the request and ran some pass routes for the Jets as part of the team's on-field session with USC quarterback Matt Leinart.
The New York contingent -- comprised of general manager Mike Tannenbaum, coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -- had originally been scheduled only to interview with Bush and the meeting was not to include any on-field work.
But when the Jets asked if Bush would mind shagging some passes and performing a few rudimentary drills, the Trojans star quickly changed into workout clothes. Sources at the workout said that Bush moved effortlessly through the session and caught the ball well. The significance of the brief workout for the Jets remains to be seen.
So what are the realistic chances that Bush, regarded by many as the top overall prospect in the draft, could take his game from the country's second-biggest market to the Big Apple? Probably not good. But credit the Jets for doing their homework and Bush for doing any work at all on such brief notice.
There is a suspicion that, if he is not the top pick, Bush would be intrigued by playing in New York, in part because of the marketing potential there. It's hard to fathom, though, how Bush would slide all the way to the Jets' current berth in the first round, the No. 4 slot overall. Then again, New York officials could be tempted to move up in the round if Bush was not chosen by the Texans with the first pick.
The New York offense statistically ranked next-to-last in the NFL in 2005 and needs playmakers. Future Hall of Fame tailback Curtis Martin will turn 33 next month and is entering his 12th season. And coming off a dismal 4-12 record, the Jets could certainly use the kind of buzz Bush would create.
Even given what appears to be some uncertainty on the part of the Texans' brass, though, Bush remains the favorite to be the Houston choice. ESPN.com has learned that there was dialogue on Tuesday between the Texans and Bush's agent, Joel Segal, but still no substantive negotiations. There have been no hard contract talks yet, either, with the representatives for North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams, the other prospect Houston is apparently considering with the first pick.
It's believed that the Texans will commence negotiations later this week with the aim of having the top pick signed before the draft begins. League rules permit the Texans, by virtue of owning the top selection, to begin contract negotiations with one or more candidates for the No. 1 spot.
In the meantime, the Jets are exploring all the contingencies and covering as many bases as possible, even if it meant imposing on Bush a little.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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