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Nate Burleson: Reggie Bush can fill Jahvid Best void

If you're in the camp that believes Reggie Bush is an elite NFL player, the 2013 season will either validate your thinking or serve as a harsh reality check.

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Bush is set up. He's with a new team in the Detroit Lions that has paid him big money to be their lead running back. He's playing alongside one of the most productive quarterbacks in football in Matthew Stafford and the greatest wide receiver on the planet in Calvin Johnson.

Lions veteran Nate Burleson has been impressed by what he's seen from Bush, saying the 28-year-old is "as fast as he's ever been." Burleson said Sunday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Bush could become an even better version of Jahvid Best, who successfully balanced Detroit's offense before concussion issues derailed his career.

"He was that home run hitter," Burleson said of Best. "When you have Jahvid in the backfield, catching screens, getting handoffs, it made defenses so much aware of our running game. They couldn't double, triple shade guys to different sides. They always had to keep account where Jahvid was."

Burleson believes that element of the Lions' offense is back with Bush in town.

"I knew (Bush) was a good running back, I knew he could catch the ball out of the backfield," Burleson said. "But when he motions and gets into the slot or goes outside and runs a route. He didn't look like a running back running a route, he looked like a receiver running a route. And that's a really big difference and for people who know football, they know exactly what I'm talking about."

Summer always has been a fertile time for coaches and teammates to wax optimistic about Bush transforming an offense into a juggernaut -- even if it never actually happened with the New Orleans Saints or Miami Dolphins. Perhaps things will be different in Motown.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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