Mario Williams and Reggie Bush will forever be linked by the 2006 draft, but the Texans' Pro Bowl defensive end and Saints' multi-purpose running back both downplayed the media's negative perception of their relationship after their teams practiced together on Wednesday.
"We've done events together, and we see each other (outside of football)," said Bush, the No. 2 pick in the '06 draft out of USC. "We were talking today inside. He's a great guy. There is no tension between us. I think that is for the fans and the media. In all honesty, I think it makes for a better story. All it does is bring more attention to the game, and that's what we want to do. We want to bring more attention to the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints."
Williams, the overwhelmingly-criticized No. 1 pick in 2006, was told of Bush's positive remarks toward him after the teams' afternoon practice.
"I feel the same way," Williams said. "There was never any hostility between either one of us. I guess the media tries to make it that way, so I guess it's your fault. But we don't really pay attention to that stuff."
Regardless of what the two players say, it probably wasn't always this way – not when Williams was lambasted and booed before he even stepped on to the field as a rookie, nor when Bush was seething about being passed over as the No. 1 pick.
But more than three years later, both players say that they couldn't care less about what the media thinks of their relationship. And it actually sounded genuine this time, like they had moved on – if there was anything to move on from in the first place.
For all the hoopla that has surrounded Williams and Bush since 2006, it's entirely plausible, as both asserted today, that there are no hard feelings between them. Neither player has wronged or slandered the other. They don't play the same position, don't even play on the same side of the ball and aren't in the same conference.
That didn't stop the 2006 draft questions from coming like clockwork on Wednesday, just like they did when the Texans and Saints met in 2007 **and 2008**.
"That's what the media is about, man: rough stories," Williams said. "I will say this, I'm getting tired of seeing Brett Favre and Michael Vick on TV, and I'm sure they are, too."
Ah, Mario. Just wait 'til next week.