Running back Reggie Bush released by Lions

Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) dives into the end zone for a touchdown against Chicago Bears safety Brock Vereen (45) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Chicago.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions released running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday, halfway through the four-year deal he signed as a free agent before the 2013 season.

Bush started 23 games for the Lions. He rushed for 1,006 yards in 2013, but this past season he had only 76 carries for 297 yards while slowed by injuries. Bush, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, turns 30 next week.

The Lions acquired Bush to provide some offensive balance for a team that had a dynamic passing game with quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson. There were times when Bush flashed some of the speed and elusiveness that made him a star at Southern California and an exciting addition to the New Orleans Saints during his first few NFL seasons. But he played in only 11 games this season, his fewest since 2010.

Bush battled ankle and back problems last season, and 28-year-old Joique Bell emerged as the team’s top rusher. Bell ran for 860 yards on 223 carries, both career highs.

Bush did finish third on the Lions with 40 catches in 2014, trailing only Johnson and fellow receiver Golden Tate.

The Saints picked Bush amid plenty of fanfare in 2006, and he played five seasons for them, helping New Orleans win a Super Bowl before he was traded to Miami in 2011. After two productive seasons on the ground for the Dolphins, Bush signed with Detroit as a free agent.

In nine NFL seasons, Bush has started 94 games and has 1,266 carries for 5,465 yards and 35 touchdowns. He’s caught 466 passes for 3,489 yards and 18 TDs.

A dangerous player on special teams early in his career, Bush has not returned a kickoff or punt since the 2011 season.

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