Reggie Bush expects to be compared to Mario Williams throughout his career because of the way the 2006 NFL draft played out.
He'd rather leave those comparisons to others, however.
"I block that out of my mind. I don't worry about that," Bush said.
"That story's for you guys to write."
Bush and Williams took turns during their first two NFL seasons making the teams that chose them look smart.
Coming off a Heisman Trophy season at Southern California, Bush was widely expected to be drafted first overall by Houston. Williams, a menacing defensive end at North Carolina State, was likely to go second to New Orleans, which had expressed its interest to him often leading up to the draft.
But the Texans stunned the football world and upset many of their fans when they chose Williams, leaving Bush for the Saints.
As Bush put together a highlight-filled rookie season and helped the Saints go all the way to the NFC championship game, Houston began to take a lot of heat, as did Williams, who was solid but hardly remarkable during his rookie season.
Last season, however, Bush struggled and then injured his knee, while Williams made major strides - enough to be selected on the second-team All-Pro team by The Associated Press.
On Wednesday, they lined up on the same field during a series of joint practices that the Saints and Texans are holding in advance of their preseason game on Saturday night in New Orleans. The non-contact sessions offered Williams a chance to practice at the training site where he once figured he'd be spending his work week.
If he had ended up in New Orleans, Williams would have been under a little less pressure to justify his team's draft-day decision, but that doesn't bother him, he said.
"I have no regrets," he said.
Williams also declined to admit to a moment of schadenfreude when Bush's production plummeted last season.
"He's a great player," Williams said of Bush.
"He's just an incredible athlete and I wish him the best."
Bush said he and Williams cross paths at social functions sometimes and that they get along rather well.
"We actually hung out a little bit this offseason at some different events," Bush said.
"We're fine. We talk like normal people. We don't worry about (the comparisons)."
"has a long career ahead of him," Bush added.
"He's going to be great in this league. All the best to him."
Bush surpassed 1,300 total yards and scored nine TDs, including one on a punt return, during his rookie season. In 2007, however, he played in only 12 games because of a knee injury. Given the opportunity to be the Saints' featured running back after Deuce McAllister got hurt, Bush struggled. He finished with 581 yards rushing, 417 yards receiving and six touchdowns. His longest play from scrimmage was a 25-yard reception.
"I know I'm not a bust," Bush said.
"I know I'm far from it. I know there's a lot of hard work, focus, determination and patience involved. You have to go out there and continue to work your way through it."
Williams can relate to that.
During his rookie season, he was credited with 47 total tackles and 4.5 sacks. Last season, those numbers increased to 59 total tackles and 14 sacks. He also forced two fumbles in 2007, recovering one and scoring a touchdown.
Yet, while Williams' performance went a long way toward validating the Texans' decision to take him, Williams doesn't see it that way.
"I don't because when I look back on it ... there were a lot of things that were left on the field that could have been better and that could have helped me out and could have helped the team out," Williams said.
"There is always room for improvement."
That's not to say his nearly 10-sack improvement from his rookie year didn't help his confidence.
When asked how many more sacks he might have this season, Williams discussed the numerous near misses he saw on film in 2007 and added,
"That number could be tremendous."