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Reggie Bush plans to continue his fight against the NCAA after the return of his Heisman Trophy

Reggie Bush is excited to collect his Heisman Trophy again.

Now he also wants to regain his reputation.

The former Southern California guard says returning his Heisman is the biggest step yet in what he sees as his fight against the NCAA to restore his reputation and records from his incredible college football career. Bush clearly stated that he “never cheated” in his three seasons at USC.

“I never doubted this would happen,” Bush said. “Because I know the truth is on my side.”

Bush and his family celebrated the reinstatement of his Heisman honors Thursday at a news conference atop the venerable Coliseum, where Bush played for the Trojans before his 11-year NFL career. Bush and his three children held up the trophy together to the applause of his wife, mother and many supporters.

Bush congratulated the Heisman Trust on his reinstatement, but the former defender and his lawyers made clear their fight against the NCAA was not over. Bush indicated he had no intention of dropping his defamation lawsuit filed last year against the NCAA over the governing body’s 2021 characterization of the circumstances that led to Bush’s problems.

“It was more about being called a cheater,” Bush said. “The trophy… was taken away from me (it was painful), but being called a cheater was much worse, because I never cheated, and there is no proof of that, that I I cheated.”

Bush won the Heisman in 2005, but lost it in 2010 after USC was hit with massive sanctions tied in part to Bush’s relationships with two aspiring sports marketers. The Heisman Trust reinstated the honor and returned the trophy to Bush in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday, citing fundamental changes in the structure of college sports over the past 14 years.

The NCAA also vacated 14 Trojan victories and erased many of Bush’s accomplishments from the record books through its sanctions. The move still infuriates Bush, who clearly hopes his lawsuit and public pressure can force the board to change its position.

“This is a call for the NCAA to do the right thing, to put itself on the right side of history,” attorney Ben Crump said.

Bush, whose NCAA-mandated disassociation from USC ended in 2020, hopes to see his retired No. 5 on the Coliseum peristyle this fall. He also hopes to lead coach Lincoln Riley’s team out of the Coliseum tunnel, accepting the honor bestowed on the best former Trojans.

But Bush says he won’t be satisfied until his name is also cleared.

“You can’t get to this, or a national championship, by cheating,” Bush said. “I promise you.”

Associated Press reporting.

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