TEMPE, Ariz. — Michael Bush’s face fell.
“You’ve got to be (kidding) me,” he said. “Four NINE one. There you go. There goes my career then, huh?”
It was an unofficial time, but the 4.91-second 40-yard dash crushed the former Bears running back. Visibly dazed, his face acted out the five stages of grief in the next five minutes.
The first-ever NFL Veteran Combine attracted 105 players Sunday — former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, former Cowboys running back Felix Jones, Michael Sam and others — whose sole goal was to be seen. For some, it was one last gasp.
“I don’t know, man,” Bush said. “Man, stop playin.’ — 4.91. You all just messed it up for me — 4.91, that’s like saying you can come off the bench and you can come catch me. … Nah, I ain’t going for that. That hurts. That hurts.”
Bush hasn’t carried the ball in a regular-season game since the Bears released him a year ago. He questioned the way the team used him his final season, in which he carried the ball 63 times.
“I played there? I played there?” he said. “That’s my answer for that. Let’s be real: I had 60 carries my last year. Matt Forte is a helluva running back, but they brought me there, signed a deal for a reason — and they had other plans.”
He acknowledged that Forte didn’t like to leave the field, but said that, “at the same time, you still have coaches that make personnel decisions.”
Former teammate Nate Collins wants his second chance, too. The closest he’s come to a new job since being released by the Bears in August was a Week 8 workout at Halas Hall. He performed combine drills at the Cardinals facility Sunday in front of NFL scouts — including the Bears’ David Williams — and executives.
He said he’s recovered from a torn left ACL suffered in October 2013, though he knows there are always doubts about players after a knee injury.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Every single year since probably like fourth or fifth grade, September, October, November, you’re playing football. …
“Football is one of those sports. You just have to bite the bullet. You have to keep rehabbing … All I want is a call to camp, and everything from there is on me. That’s all I can hope for.”