Rafael Bush kept a low profile at South Carolina State’s Pro Day Wednesday.
Sporting a pair of dark shades, he stood to the side next to Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator Mike Adams as the 2012 S.C. State NFL hopefuls showed off for scouts.
Two springs ago, Bush showed up at Pro Day and clocked a 4.39, 40-yard dash that opened the door to the NFL for the Williston-Elko product. The Atlanta Falcons picked him up as a free agent, and when they let him go last season, Denver signed him.
Through six games, Bush’s stats were far from eye popping — he has just three tackles — but his playing time increased down the stretch of Denver’s remarkable season last year and that has the former Bulldog excited about the season to come.
“Any time you get the opportunity to play and the coaches believe in your abilities and what you can do, and they sat forth to make sure you get those snaps it is always a confidence builder,” Bush said.
Bush said his on-the-field reps came via a package the Broncos ran in their defensive scheme.
“I played sparingly,” he said. “But, I got some good reps in.”
Bush was also in the locker room to witness the celebrity, also known as “Tebowmania,” that surrounded quarterback Tim Tebow. As exciting as that was, Bush said he was looking forward to playing on the same team as legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
“We just want to win,” he said. “And, I think the organization thought that (jetisoning Tebow for Manning) was the best route to go. When you talk aobut Peyton Manning, arguably, he is the best quarterback of all time. So, Tebow is a great guy. He is a great quarterback. He wins games, but when you talk about Peyton Manning ... that’s an elite quarterback.”
Bush said he has been training hard to prepare for the upcoming season and hopes to see his playing time increase.
“I have just been working on some of the things I thought were necessary for me to work on,” he said. “I have been working hard since the day after the Super Bowl. I felt like, being a young guy and leaving the season fresh with no injuries, there was no reason for me to take an extended vacation. I just felt the need to hit the ground running. I think as far as experience, the mental aspect is something we as players can always improve on. I don’t think talent or ability is in question. It’s just getting mental reps.”
With Manning, perhaps the most cerebral quarterback in the game, lining up across the line of scrimmage at practice, those mental reps take on greater importance. Bush said he is aware and can’t wait for the challenge ahead.
“It’s surreal getting to play gainst guys and practice against guy you watched coming up,” he said. “At the end of the day, it makes us better though. It is definitely exciting to have Peyton Manning on the other side the ball and be able to work against him every day.”
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