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Jarrett Freakin’ Bush

March 28, 2011

Jarrett Freakin’ Bush. Throughout his six-year career, that name has largely invoked groans and face-palms from Packers fans. But those jeers quickly turned into cheers during the 2010 season.

Despite his public image, the 26-year-old Bush quietly and steadily improved as a football player on- and off-the-field. As the 2010 season progressed, his perseverance paid off as he was named one of two special teams captains for the playoffs. In Super Bowl XLV, Bush credited his film study for nabbing a second quarter interception.

“The first time I saw that play in practice, I screwed it up – I wasn’t able to make the play and I didn’t know where Ben (Roesthlisberger) likes to throw the ball,” Bush told Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But when they came in the same formation in the game – an empty set where they had no back in the backfield – it kind of dawned on me, that’s the same formation!”

“Mike Wallace came on a little crossing route. I just remembered that in practice. I needed to drive it – just go for the ball. I went for it. I beat him to the spot where the ball ended up being. I was all from play recall, watching film and working in practice.”

As I re-watched the Packers Super Bowl XLV Champions DVD this weekend, Bush’s leadership on special teams became increasingly clear. All season long, he was consistently the first player to reach the ball on punts and his Super Bowl interception had to be sweet vindication for the previously loathed player. Pro Football Weekly’s Dan Arkush notes that Bush’s leadership, effort, and play has “veteran team sources believing he legitimately has what it takes to become the Packers’ first Pro Bowl special-teamer since Travis Jervey in the mid-’90s.”

Much like the 2010 Packers season, it has been an improbable path to victory for Bush. But now when fans utter Bush’s name, they no longer sigh; they smile and exchange high-fives.

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