LIONS INSIDER

Reggie Bush lobbied to Lions management to keep coach Curtis Modkins

Posted Jan 31, 2014

Detroit saw significant improvements in their rushing attack last season with the additions of running back Reggie Bush and running backs coach Curtis Modkins

NEW YORK, NY -- Jim Schwartz was fired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions earlier this month and when that happened the fate of his coaching staff was very much in question.

That included running backs coach Curtis Modkins, who had just finished his first season with the team.  

When running back Reggie Bush heard the news about Schwartz, he he made a trip to Allen Park to talk to team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew about keeping Modkins aboard.

"Obviously, when everything happened, when coach (Jim Schwartz) got fired and coaches were getting fired left and right, I went up there to the GM and the president and said, 'Curtis Modkins is a great coach,'" Bush said Friday in New York at the Super Bowl, where he was doing some promotional work for Sony.

"He’s singlehandedly helped change the running game of this offense. When you look where it was a couple years ago, and where we were last year. It was just a breath of fresh air to have a guy like that. Any given Sunday you felt like you could run for 150 yards. That’s a good problem to have and that’s the guy you want on your side."

Bush, 28, was signed on the first day of free agency last offseason and became a 1,000-yard rusher for the second time in his career this past season (1,006). He also became just the second player in Lions history to have 1,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving in a season.

He credits a lot of that success to Modkins, who joined Detroit's staff after stints with Kansas City (running backs coach), Arizona (running backs coach) and Buffalo (offensive coordinator/running backs).

Bush and fellow running back Joique Bell became the first tandem in NFL history to each rush for at least 500 yards and have 500 receiving yards as the run game became a real threat in the Lions offense for the first time in quite some time.

"I definitely wanted to go to bat for him because he’s a great coach," Bush said. "Unfortunately, throughout my career, I’ve had some pretty bad running backs coaches and he’s the first really good one I’ve had in the NFL.

"We had to keep him and I did everything I could. I don’t know if it was the deciding factor but I’m just glad he’s still on our team."

Lions running backs accounted for 2,769 total yards this season, which was the third-most total in the NFL behind San Diego (2,843) and New England (2,776).

There were some problems with fumbles at times this past season with Lions running backs, which is something Modkins will certainly address heading into 2014.

"Just his attitude and his mentality," Bush said of what he likes about Modkins. "The principles he brings to the run game. The blocking schemes. The way we run the ball. His thought process and he’s a teacher.

"When I go in there I feel like I’m learning something new every day. That’s what you want in a running backs coach. You want a guy that’s constantly teaching your guys and helping them all to become better players, and not only better players, but better men. He’s everything."