Bush joins tight end battle

Posted Jun 12, 2004

The traffic at tight end got a little tighter with the addition of free agent Steve Bush this week. Bush attended his first practice just hours after signing despite taking an overnight flight from California.

Bush, 29, signed with Green Bay after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals. He didn’t want to waste any time beginning his competition with NFL Europe star Tony Donald and undrafted rookie Keith Willis for the Packers’ open tight end spot behind Bubba Franks and David Martin. Also not to be forgotten in the tight end equation is Wesley Walls. Even though Bush is wearing Walls' No. 85, the Packers haven't completely closed the door on the long-time veteran yet.

Bush not only wanted a jump on the competition - he also needed a head start in learning the Packers’ West Coast offense – a system he hasn’t seen in his previous NFL stays. Previously the 6-3, 280-pound Bush played four seasons in Cincinnati. He had a “cup of coffee” with the Rams prior to training camp in 2001, but didn’t make the roster.

If he makes the team, the Packers’ style of offense won’t be the only thing new to the tight end. After splitting his seven seasons between the doormats of each conference, Bush would like nothing better than to catch on with a winner.

In that vein, Bush told reporters that it was a “no brainer” to choose Green Bay, citing their perennial playoff position. He was also pursued by Baltimore and San Francisco.

The last major accomplishment of Bush’s two and a half seasons in Arizona has a direct Packer connection. Bush scored his only touchdown of the 2003 season in the finale – the unbelievable upset win over the Minnesota Vikings. His two-yard catch on fourth-and-one from the Vikings’ 2-yard line brought the Cards to within 17-12 with two minutes to go, setting up the eventual game-winner which propelled the Packers to the NFC North crown and into the playoffs.

Bush, who has also played fullback and has served as a long-snapper, has played in 65 consecutive games. The streak dates back to Oct. 31, 1999 when he was inactive due to a sprained knee. In 98 career contests, Bush has 25 starts, 46 catches for 354 yards and two touchdowns.

Bush was an Arizona State teammate of Packer Grey Ruegamer, as well as Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman.

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