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NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Bush is giving back the trophy. To many, though, he'll always be a Heisman winner.
"Everyone still knows Reggie Bush was the best player that year. Look at the runs. He was clearly the best player," said Johnny Rodgers, the 1972 Heisman winner from Nebraska. "O.J. Simpson got accused of a murder and they didn't take his back. That was a far greater allegation, and they didn't find O.J. guilty on that."
Bush took the unprecedented step of forfeiting his 2005 Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, saying the scandal over improper benefits while he was a star running back at Southern California should not stain "the dignity of this award."
Returning the trophy has no practical effect on Bush since he's already in the NFL and a member of a Super Bowl championship team. However, it is the first time in the award's 75-year history that a player has forfeited it.
"I think it's a sad day, that's the way I feel about it," said former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch, who won the 2001 Heisman and voted for Bush in 2005. "Having to actually be the first time in the history of the award that someone has given it back. ... I don't know if he actually had to. Maybe this is on his terms."
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