Bush refutes report that Saints allowed him to shop around

Reggie Bush on Friday denied a Yahoo! Sports report that he was granted permission in February by the New Orleans Saints to speak with NFL teams to gauge their interest in the running back's services.

WWL.com in New Orleans asked Bush via text if the reports were accurate, and he responded: "Lol! Absolutely not!"

Asked again, Bush reiterated "for the second time no."

Shortly after the Saints made a first-round trade to draft Alabama running back and former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, Bush tweeted: "It's been fun New Orleans," before later posting another message welcoming Ingram to the team.

The Yahoo! Sports article states that Bush and his agent, Joel Segal were informed that multiple teams would consider paying the five-year veteran handsomely -- or at least more than the Saints. The report, citing a source, stated that the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants were among the most likely landing spots.

Bush and Segal cannot negotiate with any club right now because of the NFL lockout, but the running back said last month that he would like to retire with the Saints.

Days later, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis told The Times-Picayune that there is hope for a Bush return.

"He's been important to us for the last five years, and we think he'll be important to us going forward," Loomis said. "But we'll deal with that when we're able to talk to Reggie and his agent again."

Bush is due about $11.8 million for the 2011 season, but the Saints expect him to take a pay cut. Bush said he remains willing to negotiate, as he initially stated after the season.

"That's something that me, my agent and the Saints have to collectively come together and talk about and just come to a meeting point, a happy medium," Bush said in May. "Obviously, we know that there's going to have to be some type of pay cut and there's going to have to be some type of re-negotiation."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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