Reggie Bush Signs Adidas Endoresement Deal

The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 26, 2006; 2:30 PM

NEW YORK -- Reggie Bush inked a contract even before the NFL draft. The USC star running back and Heisman Trophy winner, expected to be the No. 1 pick in Saturday's draft, signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Adidas on Wednesday.

"It's going to be a great, long relationship," Bush said. "Adidas is on the uprise, and I want to be part of it."

Bush will promote a line of football and training clothing and launch a cleat in 2007.

An electrifying back who averaged 8.7 yards, Bush is skipping his senior season. The Trojans fell short of an unprecedented third national title when they lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl.

Bush addressed the Pac-10's investigation into whether any NCAA rules were violated because of a family living arrangement in Spring Valley, Calif. While Bush played for USC last season, his family lived in a house owned by a man who reportedly sought to market him.

"We have a case, a situation that's been blown out of proportion due to maybe my public image," Bush said. "There is nothing to be worried about from our perspective. We've done nothing wrong. I'm looking forward to playing some football here come the next couple of months."

With funky music and videos of his touchdown runs as introduction, Bush took questions while framed by two large posters of himself: a diving catch in a USC uniform, and a sprint down a track in his "power web performance apparel" of white shirt and black shorts.

The Houston Texans have the first pick Saturday, but Bush expressed warmth for New York. The Jets have the No. 4 pick.

"New York has been nothing but great to me," Bush said. "I've been out here for the Heisman Trophy the last couple of years. The support that I've seen from the fans, it's been great. I'd love to play out here."

He's also hoping to keep his emotions in check at the draft. At the Heisman ceremony in December, Bush thanked his family and choked back tears. He's unsure of a repeat performance Saturday on the big stage.

"I think I'm done crying," Bush said with a smile. "I wasn't planning on becoming that emotional at the Heisman ceremony. So, you never can tell. This is a special time for me and my family, so you never know what can happen."

Eric Liedtke, vice president of marketing for Adidas Americas, said the company is trying to expand into the NFL. Currently, it has only 20 percent of the market share.

"We're looking forward to the opportunity to extend ourselves with an athlete and person of Reggie's status," he said.

Leading up to the draft, Bush plans to appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," MTV and ESPN's "Cold Pizza." He'll also appear at NFL and charity events.

He's not letting on which team he expects will pick him in the upcoming draft.

"Everybody seems to think I'm going to Houston," he said. "So I'm going to go with that."

© 2006 The Associated Press