Bills sign veteran safety Kurt Coleman; Rafael Bush decides to retire

Panthers Coleman Sportsmanship Football
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, Carolina Panthers free safety Kurt Coleman (20) runs onto the field before the start of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Charlotte, N.C.

It was an unexpected decision at an unusual time in the NFL calendar. Less than a week before training camp opens for the Bills, veteran safety Rafael Bush has decided to retire after nine seasons in the NFL.

Bush, 32, proved to be valuable depth for the Bills in 2018, after signing a two-year contract with the club in free agency that offseason.

The safety appeared in 15 games last season, making seven starts. He even played a bit out of position as he helped to fill the nickel corner role when rookie Taron Johnson was shut down for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Rafael Bush has decided to retire after nine seasons in the NFL.
Rafael Bush has decided to retire after nine seasons in the NFL.

Despite having mainly a subpackage role, Bush finished seventh on the team in tackles with 44 last season.

Buffalo was the fifth NFL club that Bush played for in his career. He also lined up for Atlanta, Denver, Detroit and New Orleans. It was an impressive nine-year run for a player who went undrafted back in 2010.

Bills sign familiar face in Coleman

Once learning of Bush's decision to retire from the game, the Bills moved swiftly to fill the void, signing veteran safety Kurt Coleman.

Coleman, 31, has a lengthy history with head coach Sean McDermott and knows Buffalo's defensive scheme very well.

The safety was coached by McDermott in Philadelphia his rookie year in 2010. He later lined up for him as a starting safety for two seasons in Carolina (2015-2016) including the Panthers NFC title season when they advanced to the Super Bowl.

Those two seasons under McDermott in Carolina were the two most productive of Coleman's career.

In 2018, Coleman appeared in all 16 games for the New Orleans Saints, making nine starts.

Coleman figures to provide valuable depth behind starting safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Whether he possesses more position flexibility in the secondary will be determined as training camp unfolds.