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Reggie Bush getting Heisman Trophy back after it was stripped from him 14 years ago

The star USC running back was forced to forfeit college football's top honor in the wake of an improper benefits scandal.
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Onetime University of Southern California football great Reggie Bush will again be known as a Heisman Trophy winner, regaining the college game's top honor after an improper benefits scandal tarnished his storied amateur career, officials said Wednesday.

The Trojans running back was named college football's best player in 2005, convincingly winning the vote over star quarterbacks of the time such as Texas' Vince Young, Bush's teammate Matt Leinart, Notre Dame's Brady Quinn and Penn State's Michael Robinson.

But five years later, that honor was taken away from Bush in the wake of allegations that his family received benefits from an agent while he was still a student-athlete at USC.

USC had surrendered the replica of the trophy it had displayed on campus, and Bush was no longer invited to Heisman Trophy ceremonies.

“I am grateful to once again be recognized as the recipient of the Heisman Trophy,” Bush said in a statement Wednesday. “This reinstatement is not only a personal victory but also a validation of the tireless efforts of my supporters and advocates who have stood by me throughout this arduous journey.”

Bush posted a photo of himself on Instagram of himself standing with the trophy Wednesday and a caption reading, "No one can take from you what God has for you."

Heisman officials said it was difficult to maintain sanctions against Bush when modern college athletes are profiting from their names and likenesses.

And just last month, former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 winner, said he wouldn't attend any Heisman ceremonies if Bush remained banned.

The annual award is given out in December in New York City. The 2023 honor went to LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” Heisman Trophy Trust President Michael Comerford said in a statement.

“We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the Trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.” 

Bush's name was listed on the Heisman Trophy's website Wednesday as the winner of the 2005 honor. As recently as April 11, the site listed no winner for 2005.

Bush still insists he did nothing wrong.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that I have always acted with integrity and in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA,” he said. “The allegations brought against me were unfounded and unsupported by evidence, and I am grateful that the truth is finally prevailing.”

Bush's 2005 season was one of the greatest of recent college football, as he rushed for 1,740 yards on 200 carries for a whopping 8.7 yards-per-carry average.

The Trojans were undefeated for 12 games before Texas vanquished them in an epic Rose Bowl game, 41-38.

Bush was the second overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints, launching an 11-season pro career that also included stops in Miami, Detroit, San Francisco and Buffalo.

Injuries limited Bush to just 70 carries in the 2009 regular season — though he came through in a huge moment of that season's NFC title game, scoring a late TD on a 5-yard pass from Drew Brees.

The Saints won that game, and two weeks later, they captured the franchise's only Super Bowl title by beating the Indianapolis Colts.

Reggie Bush during a Saints game in New Orleans
Reggie Bush during a Saints game in New Orleans on Jan. 20, 2019.Jordon Kelly / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images file

While Bush never regained the electricity of his USC days, he still logged some productive seasons, particularly in his career's later stages.

He rushed for 1,086 yards for the Dolphins in 2011 and ran for 1,005 yards for Detroit in 2013.

Younger football fans and those who don't follow sports might know Bush best for dating reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

He even appeared on a handful of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" episodes.