Reggie Bush agreed to a four-year deal with the Lions on Wednesday after spending hours at the team facility in Allen Park. (John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)
Allen Park — Reggie Bush barely slept Tuesday night.
The speedy, agile running back and celebrity figure said he only slept for about two hours because he was thinking about his Wednesday meeting with the Lions brass and all the ways in which he'd fit in the team's offense.
"It almost seemed too perfect," Bush said.
A perfect fit and a perfect pitch helped Bush sign a four-year, $16 million contract with the Lions on Wednesday.
And while the Lions' biggest free-agency splash was on offense, they made a concerted effort to improve last year's defense, signing safety Glover Quin and defensive end Jason Jones and re-signing top cornerback Chris Houston. There was also a report that free agent safety Louis Delmas may end up re-signing with Detroit.
Detroit was Bush's first visit after free agency opened Tuesday at 4 p.m., and he spent hours at the team facility in Allen Park before being introduced wearing a Lions cap and cream-colored jacket at a 2 p.m. news conference.
"It's like I got drafted all over again," Bush said. "I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to get this thing on the road and get to work because I think it's going to be a good thing, and I look forward to winning a lot of football games here."
Lions players Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson and legendary former running back Barry Sanders all helped recruit the high-profile Bush to Detroit this offseason, and he said their desire for him to join the team helped solidify his decision.
"I think we have a chance to make a Super Bowl run," Lions receiver Nate Burleson said after the signing. "He's a game-changer."I tell people all the time it's not about how big a splash you make in free agency. It's about the fit, and we made both."
Although Bush has had ups and downs during his seven NFL seasons, including being hampered by injuries early in his career, he is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars to ever sign with the Lions in free agency. Bush's celebrity status will likely draw back fans who were frustrated after last year's 4-12 finish, and his presence immediately raises expectations for the team.
"The thing that was important to us was not just the talent of Reggie Bush, but also the way those talents complement the other players we have on offense, notably Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford," coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday.
Bush spent the last two seasons with Miami and ran for 986 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. The former Heisman Trophy winner was drafted No. 2 overall by New Orleans in 2006.
Although he has only eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in one NFL season (2011), Bush possesses the breakaway speed the Lions have missed since losing Jahvid Best to concussion symptoms in 2011.
"Football is about matchups and this gives our offense some tremendous options," Stafford said in a statement. "It's exciting for me personally and it's exciting for our entire team. Reggie is a proven commodity. He has made plays at every level of his career and has done everything asked of him. I am thrilled to call him a teammate."
The Lions reportedly offered Bush a chance to start over Mikel Leshoure, which helped seal the deal. Bush will also give the Lions an upgrade over Joique Bell as a receiving back. Bush has caught at least 43 passes in five of his seven seasons, including a rookie season with 88 receptions for 742 yards.
Leshoure and Bell often failed to exploit defenses that focused on stopping Johnson last season. The Lions had just four runs of 20-plus yards last season, while Bush had seven.
Asked what he thought about running against six or seven defenders in the box, Bush said, "It's a running back's dream."
"With the boxes that we see with the way the dynamic with Calvin works, it provides opportunity for running backs to make dynamic plays in our offense," Schwartz said.
Bush said he wasn't sure whether he'd be a return man or line up as a receiver, but he expects to be on the field often. He also doesn't mind how big a workload he receives as a running back.
"I've done three to four carries a game, I've done 20, 25 carries a game," Bush said. "I'm comfortable when we win.
"That's what I'm most comfortable with and that's what I'm here for to help this team. Not so much worried about my personal stats. I think I'm at the point in my career now where winning is the most important thing to me, and I felt the same with the coaches and the players here, too."
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- Lions land safety Glover Quin, DE Jason Jones
- Detroit Lions bring back Chris Houston with 5-year deal, $25M deal
- Reggie Bush's career stats
- Photos: Lions free agents' status (updated April 17)
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