The Bills are expected to sign New Orleans Saints free agent safety Rafael Bush when the league year officially begins Wednesday.
1. Moving around: The Bills are Bush’s fifth NFL team (and he had two stints with the Saints). After going undrafted, Bush signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons and spent most of the 2010 season and the first half of the 2011 season on their practice squad. He was on the 53-man roster for the season finale in 2010 but did not play in the game. Denver signed off the Falcons’ practice squad in October 2011 and he played in six games that season. He spent four season with the Saints, one season with the Lions and returned to the Saints for the 2017 season. He has played in 76 games in 18 starts.
2. Veteran presence: The Saints officially will sign former Carolina safety Kurt Coleman this week, making Bush expendable as the veteran leader among their safeties. With the Bills, Bush becomes part of a veteran group at the position with Pro Bowler Micah Hyde, who signed with the Bills last offseason, and Vontae Davis, the former Colts safety who signed with the Bills two weeks ago after being released.
3. Beyond defense: Bush has been a stalwart on coverage teams throughout his career. Special teams was among the Bills’ biggest strengths and the Bills surged from No. 24 to a tie for No. 7 in Rick Gosselin’s highly regarded rankings. While Bush adds depth at safety, he adds a veteran presence on the coverage units that has to make special teams coordinator Danny Crossman happy.
4. The Reggie connection: Rafael and Reggie Bush share more than the same last name. When Rafael got to New Orleans for his first stint with the team, he wore No. 25. That had previously been Reggie’s number with the Saints. Rafael went to Detroit, another of Reggie’s former teams, but wore No. 31 (Reggie wore No. 21 with Detroit). He then returned to New Orleans and again wore No. 25. He now comes to Buffalo, yet another of Reggie’s former teams. Reggie wore No. 22 with the Bills. That number is currently vacant. So regardless of the number, three franchises will now have been home to both Rafael and Reggie.
5. On the run: Bush ran for more than 3,500 yards in his high school career at Willison-Elko High in Williston, S.C. That included 1,800 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior. He was named all-state in each of his three years as a starter. He then went to South Carolina State to play defensive back, where he was named to the school’s all-decade team.