Free agent running back Michael Bush will visit the Bears on Wednesday prior to visiting the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter has reported.
Bush, 27, a fourth-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2007, has been a part-time starter for the Raiders the past three seasons. The former Louisville standout has been particularly effective scoring inside the 5-yard line -- not a Bears strength in recent years. Bush has scored 15 rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons -- 13 of them inside the 5, including 10 TD of two yards or less.
In 2011, Bush scored six touchdowns of two yards or less. Bears running backs scored two, both by Marion Barber.
Bush rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns on 256 carries last season, averaging 3.8 yards per carry after averaging 4.4., 4.8 and 4.1 yards per carry in his first three NFL seasons. He also had 37 receptions for 418 yards and one touchdown in 2011 (a career-best 11.3 yards per catch).
In a four-game stretch in the middle of the season, Bush averaged 115 rushing yards (4.8 per carry) and 153 yards from scrimmage against the Chiefs (17 carries, 99 yards), Broncos (19-96), Chargers (30-157) and Vikings (30-109). But he was stymied by the Bears the following week (24-69 with a three-yard TD) and averaged 63 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry in the Raiders' final six games.
The Bears tendered running back Khalil Bell, a restricted free agent, at $1.26 million. The Bears have the right to match any offer Bell gets in free agency.