Fresh off the wire

Reggie Bush still has Miami Dolphins role, GM says


INDIANAPOLIS -- Miami Dolphins fans assume by now that Reggie Bush will be playing elsewhere. Publicly, general manager Jeff Ireland doesn't see it that way.

"I certainly would (see a role for Bush on the Dolphins)," Ireland told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday. "You would love to have his skill set on the football team."

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It's hard to see this as anything but GM-speak. The Dolphins would like to have Bush, who will be a free agent, but only at a low price. They don't see him as a true starting running back, and Ireland spoke about the potential emergence of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.

Ireland had a few other good nuggets during his session:

1. Ireland indicated the Dolphins already have decided to use the franchise tag. He said there was a "likelihood" of it at one point. At another point, he said he had a "pretty good idea" of where he was going for it.

2. Ireland sounded less optimistic about re-signing offensive tackle Jake Long. Ireland said it was a "complicated" negotiation that has elements other contracts would not.

3. My guess for that tag: Defensive tackle Randy Starks. Ireland said keeping the defensive line strong is a priority. Ireland said it was "very important" to get Starks back.

The other option for a tag: Cornerback Sean Smith. Ireland spoke very positively about Smith's experience and play. The Miami Herald has reported that Smith won't get the tag. Ireland said there was a "long way to go" in contract talks with Smith, but he felt optimistic about them.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.