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Reggie Bush speaks out after getting Heisman Trophy back

NFL star and former University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush said Thursday getting back the Heisman Trophy felt like being on the field again.

"Yesterday felt like game day for me... I was excited, man," Bush said during a news conference at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. "I got the chills all over again."

Bush received the honor recognizing him as the most outstanding college football player in the U.S. in 2005, his last year playing for the Trojans. It capped off a remarkable few years at USC including a 2004 Rose Bowl win and an NCAA record of a 7.3 yards per carry during his career. He guided the team to three consecutive national championship games.

Reggie Bush during a press conference at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after getting back the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

But Bush forfeited the honor in 2010 following an NCAA investigation that accused him of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in a so-called 'pay-to-play' scheme. It was the same year he won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints.

Last year, Bush sued the NCAA for defamation, disputing their claims as false.

On Wednesday, the Heisman Trust reinstated Bush's 2005 trophy, recognizing major shifts in recent years on the compensation of college athletes -- notably, the landmark 2021 Supreme Court decision which opened the door to pay beyond just scholarships. 

Such reforms have followed criticism of a college sports complex where universities rake in huge profits while athletes are barred from earnings like sponsorship deals.

"We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the Trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back," Michael Comerford, president of the Heisman Trophy Trust, wrote in a statement.

Bush said he was glad to be recognized as the fair winner of the 2005 trophy once again, saying he never cheated.

"I'm thinking about my time at USC and just how much of the work we put in produced the results that you saw on the football field, including this Heisman Trophy right here," he said. "You can't get to this -- or a national championship -- by cheating, I promise you."

USC President Carol Folt said the school was honored to have Bush back as he celebrated the award.

"He won our hearts during his illustrious career and deserved to have his well-earned honor restored," Folt said in a statement. "We are looking forward to celebrating with him and his family and are proud we were able to stand with him as an advocate."  

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