Frustration, disappointment, even resentment would all have been perfectly understandable feelings for safety Josh Bush after the November signing of Ed Reed buried him deeper in the defensive depth chart.
But for Bush, Reed was no speed bump on his road to additional defensive snaps. He was a ramp to the top.
“Mr. Reed, how are you doing? I’m your shadow,” he told the future Hall of Fame safety prior to their first practice together as Green & White teammates.
Throughout the season, Josh took advantage of the opportunity to learn from, in his words, “the best instruction manual in the world."
Despite going the first three-quarters of the 2013 season without a pick, Reed was tied for the lead among NFL safeties with three interceptions from the time he joined the Jets through the end of the year. Maybe he did lose some speed due to his hip surgery, but he compensated with an active brain.
“I saw a true leader,” Bush said at Jets House in Manhattan this past week about his seven weeks playing alongside Reed. “The common man knows he wasn’t 100 percent coming off hip surgery, but he was more of a coach than anything. Just to have him around us was a special time.”
Now, it’s time for Bush to let the special times roll right into the offseason. In the next few weeks he’ll be taking a trip down to Atlanta to live with Reed, pick his brain and, holding true to his word, shadow his every move.
“He’s always willing to share knowledge,” the 24-year-old Wake Forest product said. “He told me once you get to a certain point, that’s what it’s all about. Why would you keep knowledge away from a younger guy? That keeps the world turning, so he definitely wants to give knowledge.”
Of course, their time spent together won’t entirely be spent talking X’s and O’s.
Josh Bush is not just a 5’11”, 205-pound, third-year safety for the Jets, just as Ed Reed is more than just the NFL's active career interceptions leader. Just take a look at @JBush’s Twitter bio, for instance, and you’ll see that he’s also a self-proclaimed music producer, singer, rapper and songwriter.
“People always want to talk about football,” Bush said of his 7,391 Twitter followers. “I can ask, ‘What’s a good breakfast spot to eat at?’ and they’ll be like ‘Football!’ But we’re more than football. I’m trying to get across to my fans in music.”
That’s where Reed comes in once again.
“Ed Reed actually had a song out from his University of Miami days. It should be on YouTube,” Bush said. “He’s mentoring a producer named Hit-Boy out in California. He really has an ear for music, so I’ll send my music to him just to get an ‘OK’ or a ‘Nah, you have to go back and switch a few things.’ It’s the same way on the field. He’ll tell me when I’m messing up or congratulate me when I’m doing well.”
Currently, Bush is working alongside Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart along with WR Kenny Moore (Wake Forest in college, Panther in the NFL) to create all types of music.
“We’re just trying to get a lot of material,” Bush said. “Making music may sound easy, but it’s really not. You have to almost force yourself to just go into the studio and produce and create every day.”
Josh primarily sings R&B, his favorite instrument to play is the piano, the instrument he plays best is the guitar, he plays the drums as well, his lyrical inspiration can be drawn from anything, although it’s typically not football-related, and while he listens to any and all types of music, his favorite artist is J. Cole because “everything he says in on point.”
All that being said, Bush is not setting out to be the next J. Cole, just as he's not setting out to be the next Ed Reed.
“For me it’s never been pursuing anything,” he explained. “Even for football, you just want to be as good as you can be so that’s why I work on it. I never dreamed of playing in the NFL. I just started playing football because my friends did so I just practice to be good at it. I never actually pursued a career in the National Football League.”
It’s reasonable to say Josh Bush prefers to simply go with the flow.
“Music is one of the most important things in the planet,” Bush said. “Every car has a radio, every cellphone plays music, so it’s just having fun with it. There’s no way anyone could go more than an hour without hearing music. They may not notice it, but they definitely run into it. If music is everywhere, just embrace it.”