Reggie Bush no longer has his Heisman.
The Saints’ running back and former USC star proactively gave back the award he won in 2005 before the Heisman Trophy Trust stripped him of it.
The NCCA ruled Bush ineligible for receiving illegal gifts during his tenure at USC and punished the college with stiff sanctions. As further penalty for Bush’s misdeeds, the Heisman Trust was expected to take away his honor at the end of the month. Bush figured it was better to forfeit his award first.
He released a statement through the Saints to explain his decision.
One of the greatest honors of my life was winning the Heisman Trophy in 2005. For me, it was a dream come true.
But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends. And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.
It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005. The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future.
For the rest of my days, I will continue to strive to demonstrate through my actions and words that I was deserving of the confidence placed in me by the Heisman Trophy Trust. I would like to begin in this effort by turning a negative situation into a positive one by working with the Trustees to establish an educational program which will assist student-athletes and their families avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I am determined to view this event as an opportunity to help others and to advance the values and mission of the Heisman Trophy Trust.
I will forever appreciate the honor bestowed upon me as a winner of the Heisman. While this decision is heart-breaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many. Those are gifts that can never be taken away.
Bush is the first player to lose a Heisman Trophy in the 75-year history of the prestigious award.
Now that the controversy is behind him, Bush can focus on sparking his NFL career. He got off to a good start in the first game of his fifth season, catching five passes for 33 yards and rushing twice for 14 yards in the Saints’ 14-9 win over the Vikings in Week 1.