Reggie Bush is a name every college football fan knows. His career at USC, which included two All-America selections, a Heisman Trophy and a BCS National Championship, is only rivaled in Trojans history by another running back, O.J. Simpson. That's saying something considering numerous Hall-of-Famers have passed through the Los Angeles school.
Bush blossomed thanks to his speed, cutting, juke moves and pass-catching abilities out of the backfield. He went on to play in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, putting together a decent yet unspectacular 11-year career.
In all of his playing days, Bush became accustomed to being tackled. Hard hits were common. NFL defenders were probably anxious to slam the NCAA golden boy to the ground.
There's still one hit that sticks out in Bush's mind.
Sheldon Brown's Hit On Reggie Bush
Eagles vs Saints
Sheldon Brown lays out Reggie Bush pic.twitter.com/JIjbOrbbf7
— Northeast Degenerates (@NeDegenerate) April 10, 2020
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Bone-crunching, lung-collapsing, rib cage-shattering hits are rare in the NFL nowadays. But travel back to the 2006 NFL Playoffs and you'll find a hit harder than Steve Largent's or Jack Tatum's, the latter of which freakin' paralyzed a guy.
The Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints weren't even one minute into their 2006 NFC Divisional Playoff game when Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown de-cleated Bush on a swing pass from Drew Brees.
Bush didn't even have time to turn his body before being laid out. He barely had time to breath. It's no surprise he didn't hold on to the football, because his body looked like it'd been hit by an 18-wheeler. Then, he got up as if everything was OK before realizing he might have ruptured all his organs on the play.
Big hits like these, especially early in games, usually set the tone. That wasn't the case for this one, because the Saints went on to win this divisional round matchup, 27-24. They then lost to the Chicago Bears, who fell in the Super Bowl to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Reggie Bush: "I Thought I Was Going To Die"
I caught up with Reggie Bush about Sheldon Brown?s hit on him in the Eagles Saints playoff game 12 years ago to the day
Reggie says he still feels it today
?For sure. By far the hardest hit I?ve ever taken?#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/BTlr5p4Ebr
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 13, 2019
Reggie Bush was just a 21-year-old rookie playing in his second career playoff game. He'd amassed more than 1,300 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns despite being a newcomer to the league.
Years later, he'll tell anyone that Brown's hit was the hardest hit he's ever taken.
"It was definitely a welcome to the NFL hit," Bush said on the Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe Podcast. "The hit itself actually didn't hurt. It was the moment when my back hit the ground and knocked the wind out of my stomach. I couldn't breathe and I just remember looking up and I was like crawling trying to get my breath at the same time.
"I literally had that one split-second where I thought I was going to die."
Judging from the video, can you blame Reggie for thinking that? Eagles fans have plenty of massive hits to look back on, especially from the Brian Dawkins days, but none rival Sheldon Brown pulverizing Reggie Bush. That will live on in Eagles history and NFL history.
This article was originally published May 26, 2020.
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