The Houston Texans opted instead for defensive end Mario Williams, pulling one of the biggest shockers in recent history. They signed the North Carolina State standout to a six-year, $54 million contract, with $26.5 million guaranteed Friday night, hours before the start of the draft Saturday.
Though many thought the Heisman Trophy winning Bush would get the nod as the top pick, the Texans pulled a reverse of their own and went with defense.
"I think if people had just listened to what we had said, they would have seen that we were serious about Mario Williams," Texans general manager Charley Casserly said in Houston. "Once we brought him in here our statements never changed that we were seriously considering him for the first pick in the draft and I understand that people didn't believe it, but we always said it and we believed it."
Throughout the college football season, Bush dazzled with his with his electrifying moves and stunning speed at Southern California and seemed to be a shoo-in to become the first running back taken No. 1 since Ki-Jana Carter went to the Bengals in 1995.
But now, the Texans' move left the New Orleans Saints with an opportunity to take Bush as the No. 2 pick.
Bush has had more on his mind than the draft after questions were raised concerning who paid the rent for a home his parents lived in, and whether an agent was involved, which could violate NCAA rules. He's adamantly insisted there was no wrongdoing.
"I've got enough controversy going on in my life right now," Bush said Thursday, "but I'm sure it will all be worked out in a matter of weeks and that all the answers will be the right ones."
Bush's parents received $100,000 in cash from investors in a sports marketing company that hoped to sign the running back, an attorney for the investors said in a letter obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Attorney Brian Watkins told the newspaper on Friday that Bush's parents, LaMar and Denise Griffin, asked for the money partly to resolve financial problems. Watkins said the money included an initial payment of about $30,000 to help start up the New Era Sports and Entertainment agency.
Watkins said the money was disbursed throughout 2005 and was given on more than one occasion at the home of Lloyd Lake, an investor in the company and a documented gang member. Watkins described him as a longtime friend of the Heisman Trophy winner.