Rafael Bush is the newest addition to the Buffalo Bills seconday. Bush is expected to be a reserve behind Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and contribute heavily on special teams. He spoke with the media on Thursday after signing his contract.
Q: Why Buffalo? What brought you here?
A: It’s family oriented. I’m a family man. It’s something that I look forward to, and they believed in my skillset. They gave me an opportunity and I’m thankful for it.
Q: When you look at the Bills roster, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer both had really strong seasons last year. How do you see yourself working in with those guys and where do you see your fit behind those two guys, and if it’s not behind, where do you see yourself?
A: Well, I’m just looking forward to working with those two guys. As a tandem last year, I think they had maybe, what, 10 interceptions? As a unit last year, the secondary was pretty good. I’m just here to kind of just bring my skillset to the team and help in whatever way I can.
Q: How much do you know about those two? They were described by a lot of people as maybe as good of a safety pairing as there was in the league. Paying attention to them, or if you did, what are some of your thoughts about those guys?
A: I think just being a safety, you look at other safeties around the league, so that’s kind of natural for guys, myself included. Watching those guys play together, I’ve been watching Micah Hyde in Green Bay for some years, and I always thought he was a great player. Poyer was one of those guys that was a special teams player at first. I kind of can relate to that, being that myself, and then kind of getting the opportunity to play and making the most of his opportunities. I respect that, so like I said, I’m excited to work with those guys and can’t wait to get to work.
Q: You described it here like a family. Besides getting a deal, the right deal, for you here, what were your other observations and your other sense of where this team is [and] what you’re going to be a part of [in regards to] the culture and all the kind of stuff? What were some of your immediate thoughts?
A: [Sean] McDermott was really adamant about the culture here, changing the culture here, the particular culture that they have in store right now and what they’re doing. It just kind of felt right. I think, when we had our talk, it just felt right. You sometimes just have a gut feeling about things, and it was just one of those feelings that felt right. When we had our talk in there, man, it just went very well and my juices just kind of started flowing. I’m kind of just ready to get work now.
Q: Before maybe last year when they made the playoffs, this didn’t seem like a [free agent] destination. Have perceptions maybe changed in regards to [the rest of the league]?
A: I always go by ‘what have you done for me lately?’ They made the playoffs last year, their defense was very good at creating turnovers, so those are some of the two most important things on the defense that you need. You’re in the playoffs and creating turnovers, so you kind of do it all for that, what you did last year, so you have something to build off of. I’m just here to try to just help these guys in any way that I can, and hopefully we can take it a step further.
Q: I’m sure being in the same division as the Panthers – did you see what McDermott was doing with their defense? Did you pay attention to what the defense was like from the defensive coordinator who’s now your coach?
A: Yeah, to an extent. Me being a defensive guy, my main focus is focusing on the offense, but you can definitely see some similarities. You can see how efficient the Carolina defense was over the past couple of years; they’ve been in the top for some years, and you kind of see that translating to this team and this roster as we speak. There are definitely some similarities and I think it’s on the up and coming.
Q: This team is not shy about veterans on special teams. Can you just outline your experience in that phase of the game?
A: Like I said, I’m here to just do whatever they need me to do. There’s no egos here. You’ve got to be able to take what people give you and not take it for granted. I don’t take this opportunity for granted. I’m thirty years old, and we all know and understand that once you get to a certain age, things start to decline for players. I’m not saying that for myself, I’m just speaking as a whole. I’m here to do whatever they need me to do or whatever they ask me to do.
Q: You’ve been in the league 8 years now – you’ve beaten the averages by a lot. What do you think, in talking to Coach McDermott, what about your experience do you think they liked?
A: Like you said, the conversation went very well and not to get into too many details about what we talked about, I think he was just fond of the way I play the game and it kind of matches the culture that’s already here. I guess bringing me in wasn’t that much of a troubled decision, so I’m just here, like I said, to do whatever they ask me to do. I think he was very respectful and admired the way I play and the kind of mentality that I have. I’m just trying to add to our team and what we have now.
Q: Do you think playing with New Orleans helped maybe because he had a better familiarity with you?
A: Absolutely, being in the division for a couple of years and then playing against a team twice a year, you get to see the type of players [that] you’re playing against. There’s always eyes on you and there’s always somebody watching, so it’s kind of amazing how things come full circle. Now he’s here and now I’m here and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here.
Q: Was it appealing that you’re adding to a secondary that last year all those guys were brand new, pretty much, all fresh faces, but they came together really quickly? Was that appealing to you?
A: That kind of shows me the professionalism of these guys in this secondary. A lot of new that came in, a lot of new faces, but they bought into the culture and it turned out great for them. I’m just trying to follow suit.
Q: What was that day like when you agreed to terms? What were you expecting coming into this week and the motions you were going through in this process?
A: Going through this, being through this before, one thing about free agency that I learned last year [is] that it can definitely humble you. You find out what teams and other organizations feel about you. That kind of goes into who may offer you or who may not offer you, not to get into the detail of that, but, like I said, I was an older guy. We came off of a terrible loss in the Minnesota game - it was just kind of a bad taste in my mouth. Understanding my age, understanding how the business works, that could’ve been my last game. You never know. To get the opportunity, it’s really a blessing from God to have somebody, to have an organization really admire or enjoy the way that you play [and] to have a lot of good things to say about you. It really went well.