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Bushrod, Saints begin title defense
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Jermon Bushrod proudly carried the King George County flag as he rejoiced in the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis in February.
Bushrod was interviewed on ESPN2 the next day, followed by the Saints' victory parade in New Orleans and countless other appearances.
When Bushrod returned home to King George, he was given the royal treatment by the community.
The Saints' victory tour concluded earlier this week when they visited the White House.
But now it's time for Bushrod and his teammates to get back to work.
"We can't really dwell on last year's success," Bushrod said in a recent telephone interview. "We have to let the past be the past and continue to move forward."
That process started two weeks ago when the Saints reported for training camp in Metairie, La.
They'll open their preseason schedule tonight at 7 p.m. with a trip to New England.
And while Bushrod started 14 games at left tackle last season, the four-year veteran knows he's far from entrenched at the position.
"I'm still trying to get better and still fighting for my spot," Bushrod said, "because nothing is promised to you in this league."
Bushrod's journey as a starter began last preseason when Pro Bowl left tackle Jammal Brown went down for the season with a hip injury.
After a successful season protecting star quarterback Drew Brees' blind side, Bushrod (a restricted free agent at the time) was signed to a one-year contract worth $1.7 million.
Three months later, Brown was traded to the Washington Redskins.
The combination of Brown's trade and his signing left Bushrod feeling a bit more secure.
"The fact they offered me something pretty decent and the fact they let [Brown] go kind of shows me that the organization has faith in me," Bushrod said. "As long as I continue to get better they have no problem keeping me in there."
Even though his new contract and Brown's trade signified a vote of confidence in Bushrod, the Saints added to their offensive line by drafting tackle Charles Brown out of Southern California.
That's part of the reason Bushrod knows he has to be more consistent this year.
He stonewalled several elite pass rushers last season, but there were times when he struggled.