‘Old-School’ Bush Feels ‘Ready to Roll’

Veteran Jarrett Bush is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against New England. His continued special-teams excellence has him atop the Pro Bowl voting. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY)

In Jarrett Bush's mind, the only place he's questionable for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots is on the official injury report.

The Green Bay Packers special teams ace missed last Sunday's game at Minnesota - just the seventh time out of a possible 139 games of his nine-year NFL career that he did not play. He doesn't believe a lingering groin injury should keep him on the sideline any longer.

"They'll have a meeting on my best interest, but I just feel ready to roll," Bush said Friday afternoon. "I'm excited to play the Patriots. It's going to be an exciting game, and it's something I want to be a part of."

Although he's never held a full-time starting position on defense - he has just eight career starts in his 132 regular-season games - Bush has been a part of the Packers' special-teams units since he arrived as a waiver claim from Carolina before the 2006 season. Since then, he has grown into an admired veteran leader in the locker room whose work ethic is legendary.

Earlier this year, coach Mike McCarthy instituted a health and wellness program on Fridays that requires players to do Pilates, stretching, and yoga, as well as going between hot and cold baths and getting massage therapy in an effort to reduce injuries.

"I'm walking down the hall, and everybody goes to their treatments and so forth," McCarthy recalled Friday. "And then he puts on a weight jacket to go out and run the steps of Lambeau Field. That's just the kind of guy he is. He has a tremendous work ethic.

"I mean, he's always working. He's an old-school type professional that you just really appreciate. Tough as nails, loves what he does."

That approach might finally garner Bush a Pro Bowl nod as the NFC's special-teams representative. As of Wednesday, when the NFL last released the vote totals, Bush was the among NFC special-teams players with 50,187 votes. Voting runs through Monday, Dec. 15. The fan vote is one of three components in being selected, along with the players' and coaches' votes.

Inside the Packers' training room, all the names of the team's Pro Bowl selections, dating back to the 1970s, are painted on one wall. Sometimes, when Bush is in there for the health program - after he runs the Lambeau Field steps, he gets a massage, he said - he looks at the wall and wonders.

"You stare off into the corner and you see those names - Larry McCarren and Sterling Sharpe and Charles Woodson and Al Harris and Donald Driver and Aaron Rodgers and Ahman Green, on down the list," said Bush, who is in the final year of a three-year deal he signed in March 2012. "There's a lot of important people who have played a lot of great football. To add my name to that list, that'd be great."

Bush, who has registered 109 special-teams tackles during his career, ranks second on the team this season with 10 special-teams tackles. With him sidelined against the Vikings, rookie Demetri Goodson took his place on the punt coverage team and committed an interference penalty that cost the Packers 15 yards and led to a Vikings field goal.

Asked Friday if he was getting his Pro Bowl hopes up after years of being the Packers' special-teams leader, Bush replied, "Not really. Every time I do, I get let down. So I just have to keep grinding. Keep doing what I'm doing out there, keep making tackles, keep helping our team win."


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