Count Saints running back Reggie Bush as one of the handful of players who actually likes the idea of an 18-game regular season.
"I think we can definitely play an 18-game season if they would take off some preseason games," Bush said. "I think most guys would agree that four preseason games is a lot. I just feel like if you’re going to give us games that count — obviously the paychecks count and that means something — I think it could work. Guys would prefer more regular- season games than more preseason games. When you’re in preseason, you’re putting the same risk of injury out there but you’re not playing for anything."
Under the NFL's current salary structure, a player's salary only kicks in once the regular season starts. Bush believes players should be paid additionally if they move to an 18-game schedule, although owners are resistant to the idea at this point. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been an outspoken proponent of what he calls the "enhanced regular season." He does not like the idea of fans having to pay full price for preseason games, and would rather have two regula- season games added in place of two in the preseason.
"At the end of the day, four preseason games is a lot. You play a month of football and the regular season hasn't even started," Bush said. "Not to mention if you play the Hall of Fame game, it's five. It's tough. You want to keep guys as healthy as possible and give them the best chance to compete when it counts."
Bush was asked if he felt more beaten up last year by playing through the Super Bowl, but he said his offseason knee surgery meant he was "so beat up from the get-go ... At the end of the day, football is an aggressive sport. You're never 100 percent. There's going to be wear and tear in this league. It's such a barbaric sport that you're constantly beating your body up."
Oddly enough, Bush has made it through only one 16-game season — his rookie year in 2006. He has suffered an assortment of injuries that have limited him to 36 games during the last three season; He has missed 12 games in that span because of injury.