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Bush feels giving back 'my obligation'

Posted May 12, 2016

Bears fourth-round pick Deon Bush was a physical and athletic playmaking safety at Miami, but his contributions during college weren't limited to the football field.

The Bears selected safety Deon Bush in the fourth round of the draft primarily because he's a physical and athletic playmaker who forced nine career fumbles at Miami.

But Bush's contributions during college weren't limited to the football field. The Miami native was so active in the community that he was one of 22 student-athletes named to the prestigious 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

"I feel like it's my obligation to give back," Bush told ChicagoBears.com. "Growing up, that's something that my parents instilled in me. They were always trying to help people and I had a lot of people around my community that used to come back and help me. It's something I'm really passionate about. I just love doing it."

Volunteering for the Be the Match Bone Marrow Drive, Bush helped add about 500 donors to the national registry. He and some of his teammates would walk around campus in their football jerseys and encourage fellow students to sign up.

Bush has no relatives or friends in need of a bone marrow transplant, but said he chose to support the cause because "if there's any way I can help people, I'm willing to do it. I have a passion for helping others. It's something that makes me feel good."

Bears DB Deon Bush
Deon Bush was one of 22 student-athletes named to the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

When Bush and his teammates were in Shreveport, La., to play South Carolina in the Independence Bowl in December 2014, they served food at a homeless shelter. Bush was so impressed with the kids he met that he took his per diem for the week and bought about 25 toys for the underprivileged children.

"The kids were just so great," Bush said. "They were so happy, even knowing their circumstances. Something just hit me in my heart, like these kids need to know that there's hope. Being homeless is real tough, and those kids were so appreciative of everything.

"I didn't really want people to know about it. I tried to do it on the sly to help those kids because I knew they weren't probably going to get the gifts a lot of people [receive]."

Bush was thrilled to be named to the Good Works team, mostly because of how it reflected the values of what his parents, Michele and Gary Bush, have always taught their children.

"It was an honor to be recognized with that type of award," Deon said. "I just try to represent my family and my dad's name and how my mom and dad raised me. I know that reflects on how they raised me, so I was happy for them and my family."

Gary Bush, who played receiver at Mississippi Valley State with Hall of Famer Jerry Rice during the mid-1980s, was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2013.

Deon reports that his father is doing well, saying: "He's been staying strong. He still has it, but he's doing well right now. He's had cancer for three years and he's still able to function, he's still able to work out and he's still able to come to my games."

Like everything else, Bush approaches his father's illness with a positive attitude.

"I've learned that even going through what I went through with that situation and different situations, you've got to be positive about everything because every day is a blessing," Bush said. "You can't dwell on what's going wrong because that will tear you down.

"When you look at everything as positive, everything you do becomes positive. That's how I like to go about life. I don't think about negatives."

Given that philosophy, it's no surprise that Bush views his opportunity with the Bears in a similar fashion.

"I'm coming out here ready to work," he said in advance of this weekend's rookie minicamp. "I know coach [Ed] Donatell and coach [Sam] Garnes are going to get me to the level I want to be. I'm ready to listen. I'm ready to be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge they have. I know that they can help me become the player that I want to be.

"It's time to get to work. It's just a blessing to be here. I want to take advantage of my opportunity and have a good bond with my teammates. That's what's most important to me right now."