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Former Lions safety Rafael Bush signs with New Orleans Saints

The former Lions safety will return to New Orleans in 2017.

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The 2017 Detroit Lions will be without one of their significant contributors in the secondary from last season. According to Saints beat writer Nick Underhill, the New Orleans Saints have signed free agent Rafael Bush.

Bush joined the Lions last year after spending four years with the Saints. Last August, Bush was in a tense competition with Tavon Wilson for the starting strong safety job. Although Bush would end up losing that camp battle, he still played a significant role in the Lions defense, as they played with three safeties on the field very often. In fact, Bush played 48.6 percent of snaps on defense, despite not technically being a starter.

However, Bush’s role eventually became a bit redundant, as rookie Miles Killebrew started to improve and see more gameday action. Though some believed Killebrew would move over to linebacker in 2017 considering the Lions’ lack of depth there, general manager Bob Quinn shut down that notion earlier in the week. With Bush now gone, it appears Killebrew is primed to take a significant leap in production next season.

For Bush, he’ll rejoin the team that launched his career after failed stints in Atlanta and Denver. In four seasons with the Saints, Bush started 14 games and tallied 116 tackles and one interception.

Back in January, 59 percent of Lions fans suggested the Lions offer Bush a one-year deal, while 33 percent thought Detroit should move on. It appears the Lions have sided with the 33 percent.

Bush expressed his excitement for a return to New Orleans via Instagram on Thursday afternoon:

And we're back tbt

A post shared by Rafael Bush (@rafael_bush31) on

(The caption reads: “And we’re back tbt”)