Over the past few years, the Green Bay Packers have released the jersey numbers that their rookies and newly acquired players would wear before they ever put on a uniform. It used to be that players might get a chance to pick their numbers and we seldom heard about it until mini camp started.
Earlier this week, the rookie numbers came out and one stood out to me. Second-round pick and cornerback Quinten Rollins was given jersey number 24. Veteran defensive back and special teams ace Jarrett Bush had donned that number for the Packers since 2006. Year after year, Bush seemed to be fighting tough odds to make the team, sometimes down to the last preseason game, but he stuck around and forged a decent career for himself in Green Bay. It appears as though that chapter of his career has come to an end. Bush is still a free agent and with the Packers having drafted two defensive backs with their first two picks, it doesn’t appear as though he’s in the future plans.
Bush didn’t play on defense much and the running joke was that if he was on the field as a defensive back, that we might all be better off turning away at the snap. Bush did have a few memorable plays on defense along the way, with a big interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV and another to clinch a victory against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. He even somehow won a starting job in 2012 and promptly lost it midway through the first game of the season. But Bush was much more known for his savvy on special teams where he excelled as a gunner on the punt coverage unit.
Ask guys who covered the Packers over the years that Bush was on the team and they’ll tell you he was often the first guy in the building and the last to leave. After practice was over, he could be seen running sprints and doing some additional work on his conditioning.
Packers fans tend to bond with the blue chip-type guys that become solid role players. John Kuhn is another example of that type of guy who is likely in his last season in Green Bay. Bush’s inevitable departure is just another reminder that this is a young man’s game. He can probably still play and may very well end up on a roster before the 2015 season starts. But the Packers like to stay young and they have become known for letting players go a year or two sooner than other teams might, in favor of younger and newer blood.
Special teams were a sore spot for the Packers last year and they turned in the league’s worst unit. Bush was still a bright spot and it’s hard to imagine what the team would have had out there had Bush not been on it. With new talent in the draft and a fresh approach to coaching by head coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers appear to be making moves to improve this area drastically.
With that, it’s time to thank Jarrett Bush for nine years of service, wish him well and find the next special teams gem.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone:
24 thoughts on “Packers Likely Saying Goodbye To Long-Time Vet”
Agree. Jarrett Bush was a good Packer. Great special team player – heart of a lion. I wish him well.
Personally, I think Kuhn should be done also, especially now that we have drafted a FB. Very good long-time Packer, but well past his prime.
Ripkowski might need to develop. He does not appear to be ready, not when the scouts say his pass pro is a work in progress, and acknowledge that he was not asked to catch passes out of the backfield. If, and the coaches know better than I do, if he cannot pass protect, then I’d say he cannot get on the field except perhaps in goal line situations because his presence screams that there is a run coming. I am perfectly happy to have Kuhn for another year, or even a few games, until Ripkowski has shown he can do the needed things.
where did you see that he can’t pass protect? From a scouting report I have: “He sets and mirrors well in pass protection, using his strong hand jolt and proper placement to lock on and sustain. He can easily execute the lead block and the thing you notice on film is Ripkowski’s ability to adjust and block moving targets in space. He strikes with consistent force and will g
generally sustain his blocks. In pass protection, he is very alert,
keeping his head on a swivel to pick up secondary targets, blitzes and games.”
Ummm, I got it from Jay Hodgson in part. See comments to his May 2 article. I try not to open my yap without doing some research, so then I looked him up on several scouting sites, NFL, CBS, Walter (could not even find him on Walter), and a couple of others. It didn’t appear to me that they contradicted Jay, mostly they were silent or arguably silent on the issue:
“Used very sparingly as a pass-catcher and appears to be a one-trick pony.” NFL.com [I took that to mean as a lead blocker, not pass pro.]
“physical blocker in pass protection, using his hands well – looks for the decleating hit…inexperienced as a pass catcher…overaggressive and gets overeager as a blocker, lunging himself and ending up off balance.’ CBS [Some good about pass pro, but I thought it was unclear whether they refer to pass pro by which I mean identifying the blitzer or lead blocking when mentioning lunging, etc.]
A punisher at fullback, Ripkowski isn’t much of a runner or receiver, but like Kyle Juszczyk, he’s one heck of a blocker. Bleacher report [Again, took that to mean lead blocking, not pass pro.]
Crimsonandcreammachine (Oklahoma SB Nation football site) mentions his lead blocking and claims decent receiving skills, but is silent on pass pro.
So, alright already! Next year I’ll blow the $6.99 or $8.99 on your scouting report thingee!
Too bad, I was hoping we could re-sign him. By far the BEST special teams player we’ve had for past 5 years or so. Always ready to play when called upon, he’s a pro’s pro. Also made big plays in dime/nickel packages, he will be missed. Rollins had big shoes to fill wearing #24.
Don’t worry Jarrett the Vikings will be a calling!
It would be sad if we forget him, or if we forget what he did for Packers. I’m sure, whatever will be with Jarrett he will be always warmly accepted from Packers nation…
I know I can’t be the only guy that thinks Rollins looks a lot like Darrelle Revis and now with the number to boot….
Bush was a great Packer. He worked hard to always improve
I guess I thought Bush would be back at a reduced salary. Of course, maybe TT made an offer and Bush declined. I’ve not read that anywhere, but it might not be known.
I am not perfectly clear on how letting your best or one of your best special teams players go improves special teams. Perhaps the coaches saw a substantial decline even in his special teams performance.
He would get the vet minimum which is still considerably higher cap hit than a late round rookie. Always have to keep an eye on the cap. I liked Bush and his ST’s play but as Vic Ketchman says “its a young man’s game”. GoPack!
That’s true. I consider cap money to be a precious commodity. He has played 9 seasons so the vet min for his 10th year is $910K versus the rookie min of $435K. OTOH, special teams needs to get better, not worse. When I wrote making him an offer at a reduced salary, I was thinking reducing it from the $2.033 million he earned last year to maybe $1.25 million, not all the way down to vet. min. If he’d take vet min., why not a “qualified contract” like I assume Kuhn signed? It doesn’t make much difference to the player. That would be even better. I had proudly thought of myself as a bit of a bean counter, but I guess you must think of me as a spendthrift.
That $500k difference saved on a few players allows the Pack to then offer a more important player an extra $1-2M if necessary (see Cobb). If anything, it’s an indication of how we as fans are happy to spend the teams money. :). GoPack!
No, I think I am pretty much a tightwad as to the team’s cap money. I had a rant over the initial reports of Raji’s and to a lesser extent, Guion’s contracts, deeming them each of them 500K to a $1 million too rich. I still think they are too rich, but at least it is just for a year, and a lot is in active game roster bonuses. I certainly wouldn’t have matched Richardson, unless the coaches have seen the light turn on for him, or they have a new role they think he can fill. I’ll trust that TT is right for now.
I’d guess the market for Bush is considerably more than vet min. I am willing to pay close to the market for him (not some outlier from Oakland, though. I have been wrong on what market value is, though.
Off topic: Hope you saw my mea culpa on Spielman as a GM.
that tells you how “special” our special teams were…not very.
I’m glad that after losing Tramon and House, they feel there’s enough depth that they can cut dead weight like Jarrett Bush.
you unappreciative bastard!! How dare you!!
Anyone that defends Jarrett Bush so vehemently is delusional. He’s not a good player and never has been. Glad we’re moving on.
A future Packer Hall of Famer and one of the best special teamers in Packers history. Intercepted Rothlisberger in the super bowl. You hate him because of his last name. This is all political funcrusher admit it!! You hate Bush!! I would say it’s time you move on.
I’m going to miss his energy he brought to the team. Nobody worked harder than Jarret Bush. He’ll be in the Packers Hall of Fame in a few years and deservedly so. Made one of the biggest defensive plays in Packer’s history with that crucial int. of Rothlisberger in the super bowl helping the Packers win. I have the utmost respect for that guy and I am sure will be picked up by another team.
He’s headed to the Vikings!
As much as I would love to save Bush for special teams the talent this year looks very loaded. I mean the season is just rookies and give it time. They can bring him back anytime even McCarthy said as much.
I don’t see a good reason to cut Bush– he’s a special teams ace, and we’re focusing on special teams this season. It took me years to appreciate the guy. Gone too soon….
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