PITTSFORD, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills have agreed to sign free-agent running back Reggie Bush to a one-year deal to provide veteran depth behind starter LeSean McCoy and fill a big hole in their return game.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press the agreement was reached Monday afternoon. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not announced the signing.
The agreement was reached after Bush traveled to Buffalo to take a physical on Monday morning, then met with Bills officials at their training camp facility outside Rochester.
Bush is a 10-year NFL veteran who played five games with San Francisco last year before suffering a season-ending left knee injury when he slipped on the bare concrete bordering the Edward Jones Dome field in St. Louis.
Injuries have been a career-long issue for the second pick in the 2006 draft. Bush has played 16 games in a season just twice, and has been limited to playing 29 games over the past three years.
When healthy, Bush is a dynamic triple 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.
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,” coach Rex Ryan said, in 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.
The 31-year-old Bush can also provide valuable experienced depth behind 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, who played a complementary role in closing last season. Buffalo also re-signed Daniel Herron and added James Wilder Jr., the son of former Buccaneers fullback James Wilder.
Then there’s 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.