Bush putting USC in the past

Updated: July 31, 2010, 4:47 PM ET
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush said Saturday it's time to put the controversy from his days at the University of Southern California behind him.

"I like to think that I'm pretty mentally tough and I never allow any outside distraction to affect me on the football field," Bush said Saturday as the Saints went through their second day of training camp. "Once I step on the field, it's all football. I try to remember that every time I step on this field.

"This is kind of like our sanctuary. This is where we get a chance to kind of forget about everything and play football, do what we love to do and not worry about anything else."

Bush had previously addressed the situation in June after the NCAA announced it found violations involving Bush and former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo and hit USC with sanctions.

But this is the first time Bush has talked publicly since USC announced it has returned its copy of the school's Heisman Trophy that Bush won in 2005.

Although he said he is focusing on football, Bush admitted he is bothered by the way the university has distanced itself from him.

"I think I'd be lying if I said it didn't," Bush said. "Obviously, it does, but at the end of the day it is what it is. All I can really do now is focus on the New Orleans Saints and just try to move on. It bothers me and it sucks. The whole situation is terrible and nobody feels worse about it than I do.

"But, at the same time, I can't dwell on the negatives because I do have a job to do and I have a whole organization and a city riding on my back, not necessarily my back, but the team's back."

Bush also said he hopes his relationship with USC doesn't remain fractured forever.

"I hope someday at some point it can be repaired," Bush said. "We'll see what happens. That's all I can do."

Pat Yasinskas covers the NFC South for ESPN.com.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter