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Reggie Bush returning punts at 49ers OTAs

The San Francisco 49ers might have another option in the return game. Turns out Reggie Bush is back returning punts again.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers signed Reggie Bush this offseason, and the general view was that he would be a third down back who could help in the passing game. He would complement Carlos Hyde and potentially Kendall Hunter, creating a 3-pronged (maybe now 4-pronged) running back attack.

Ever since the 49ers signed Bush, people have been asking whether he will get some opportunities in the return game. My general view has been that he would not. He has returned one kickoff in his NFL career, and has not returned a pnt since 2011. There was no reason to think it would happen, but that might be changing.

Bush was on the field Thursday returning punts, according to Matt Maiocco. Bush told the media after practice that he brought it up with the coaching staff, and they were excited about the idea. This is the first significant opportunity for Bush to handle punts, and really it will matter most once preseason action gets here. OTAs and training camp will be good for getting used to being back deep again, but it will take real in-game action to see how he handles punts again in the face of on-coming defenders.

Ever since Ted Ginn departed, the 49ers have had trouble finding consistent returners. Bruce Ellington had a big opportunity last year, and will likely continue with that opportunity this year. However, he is currently dealing with a hamstring strain. Jarryd Hayne's best chance to make the team is likely as a return man, and Ellington's absence means more reps for him as well. Once preseason games get here, we'll get a much better idea of where things stand.