Reggie Bush vividly remembers every detail of the hardest hit he ever took.
Except who hit him.
Bush, a co-host of FOX Sports’ College Game Day, was asked on Monday’s show by a Twitter viewer what was the hardest he was ever hit during his 11-year NFL career.
Every Eagles fan knows the answer to that question.
My hardest hit is well-documented,” Bush said. “You can probably go look it up on YouTube right now. It happened in 2006 in the NFC Championship Game, and we’re taking about quarterbacks leading their receivers into bad throws, and the great Drew Brees almost got my head tooken off. Well, he did get my head tooken off. Thankfully I’m here to live and tell about it. It was a very interesting experience. I would not recommend it for the average person and I’m lucky to be alive. It was Lito Sheppard.”
OK, first of all, it wasn’t the NFC Championship Game, it was the conference semifinal round a week earlier.
But … LITO SHEPPARD?????
Reggie, does the name SHELDON BROWN RING A BELL?
With all due respect to Lito, who was a Pro Bowler that year and spent seven years playing cornerback alongside Brown, let’s just say he wasn’t exactly the type to unleash thunderous hits on anybody.
Lito was the speedy corner who loved to jump routes, Brown was the physical guy who could cover but loved to support the run and deliver big hits.
And actually, Sheppard didn’t even play in that Saints game. He suffered a dislocated elbow a week earlier in the playoff win over the Giants and didn’t dress.
Even though the Eagles lost that game 27-24, Brown’s hit on Bush made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
“That was a beastly, beastly hit,” Brian Dawkins said in the book, The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History, co-written by yours truly with long-time Eagles writer Mark Eckel. “He just demolished him. It may have been the hardest hit I ever saw.”
Brown's hit came on the second play of the game, and Bush, after getting laid out, missed just one snap before returning to the game.
"I couldn't believe he came back in," Eagles radio analyst Mike Quick said in The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History. "I would have taken my ball and gone home. And nobody would have complained if I did."
Bush wound up rushing for 52 yards and a TD and catching three passes, all after the Brown hit.
Today, he wouldn’t have been allowed back in the game.
What did it feel like?
“Cancel Christmas, cancel all the holidays, it was bad,” Bush said Monday. “I remember laying on the field, and it wasn’t the hit that initially put me down, it was when my back hit the ground. It knocked the wind out of my stomach. For anybody who’s ever had the wind knocked out of them, it’s probably the closest experience to dying without dying. And it was very painful. I remember looking up into the stands, started going blurry, I was gasping for air. People were trying to talk to me, I couldn’t hear anything. I was just trying to breathe.”
Brown said years later in The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History that thanks to film study, he knew what play was coming, so he was able to time his hit on Bush perfectly.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is exactly how it looked in practice,” he said. “You don’t see that happen too often.”
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