In one of those ironies of NFL life, Miami safety Deon Bush frequently worked with fellow Hurricane and NFL veteran Antrel Rolle. Now Bush is on a vector that puts him on a possible roster collision course with Rolle.
Rolle was hampered by injuries all year, starting just seven games before finishing the season on injured reserve.
“I grew up watching Antrel Rolle, and while he was down here in Miami I was working out with him, so he's kind of like a mentor to me,” Bush said. “He's been in the league for a long time and I want to be in the league for a long time, so there's a lot to learn from him. It's just great having another player from ‘The U,’ being like a family, like a brotherhood and it'll be great playing with him.”
Where Bush fits warrants watching, with Adrian Amos ensconced at free safety but the other position is very much shrouded in doubt.
That has become something of a Bears tradition at safety.
In 2014 the Bears selected Minnesota safety Brock Vereen in the fourth round. By the end of that season Vereen was starting alongside Ryan Mundy.
But the Bears signed Rolle early in free agency and Vereen lost the starting job almost at the outset of training camp, eventually released in late September. Mundy went on injured reserve with a hip injury and was done for the year.
Last year the Bears drafted Amos out of Penn State in the fifth round. He became a day one starter alongside Rolle.
Bush projects as an immediate fit for special teams but also has shown the speed (4.48 sec. in the 40) to work in coverage, a critical skill set for a position once viewed more in terms of run support. Bush collected 103 tackles and three interceptions over his junior and senior seasons, in addition to forcing five fumbles in the 2014 season.
“I take big pride in being a big hitter, that's how I grew up playing the game,” Bush said. “I've been trying to be the best hitter on my team (since my early days). I just take pride. That's how I like to play the game of football. I like to play tough, I like to put fear in my opponent and that's a big thing in my game.”