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Reggie Bush signs four-year Detroit Lions contract

The Detroit Lions were determined not to let Reggie Bush get out of town, in fear of losing their man to the Arizona Cardinals or Cincinnati Bengals.

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Dangling the opportunity to be a full-time player, starting over holdovers Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, the Lions landed another weapon for Matthew Stafford on Wednesday. Bush signed a four-year contract, the team announced Wednesday, and ProFootballTalk.com reported the deal is worth $16 million.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who was in Tennessee, during the Chris Johnson-LenDale White "Smash and Dash" days with the Titans, has long envisioned a similar backfield in Detroit.

Bush will fill the role originally slated for Jahvid Best before multiple concussions left the latter running back's NFL future in doubt. Lions coaches will devise ways to get the ball to Bush in space, while Leshoure handles short-yardage duties and the four-minute drill.

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With an increased role in Miami, Bush posted more than 950 rushing yards and more than 30 receptions in each of his past two seasons. The last Lions player to accomplish that feat was Hall of Famer Barry Sanders from 1997 to 1998.

Sanders tweeted his approval of the Bush signing, writing "Proud to be a @DetroitLionsNFL and excited to welcome @ReggieBush to the family."

What's interesting is that Bell, the player whom Bush will replace on passing downs, was one of the most productive receiving backs in the NFL last season. Among tailbacks, only Darren Sproles posted more receiving yards last season.

It's easy to forget that the Lions started 5-0 in 2011 before Best's season prematurely ended. If Bush proves to be an upgrade on Bell in terms of versatility and matchup exploitation, the Lions' offense can reach those heights again this season.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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