Jamarcus Russell’s comeback story has gained interest because the former number 1 pick has lost 50 lbs. since he first started training for the NFL again. At 265lbs, Russell is at the same weight he was at the NFL scouting combine where he was able to capture many eyes including the late Al Davis.
Even though he has been out of the league for three years, Russell is still an intriguing prospect because he is only 27 years old. The guy did not exit the league because of his god given size, mobility, or arm strength. Rather Russell has been labeled one of the biggest busts ever after weighing in at over 300lbs and falling asleep in meetings. However, in his comeback attempt Russell and his trainer Jeff Garcia want league representatives to know that this is not the same Russell. They went on to say that Russell is willing to sit behind and learn from another veteran QB in the NFL if their is a team willing to have the new and improved student.
Garcia has documented Russells comeback in a series of videos. In the videos Garcia constantly tests Russell’s mind by watching film with the young player and going over NFL plays/terminology.
As a Raider fan who has watched Russell’s documented comeback, I can say I would like to see this guy put on the pads. I am not saying that he should be given a roster spot, but you can’t tell me there are many guys who look like a defensive linemen but are able to move like him. I have trouble convincing myself that john doe from a small school has a better shot at making an NFL roster than Jamarcus Russell. Scouts who seen this guys Pro Day will testify that he has god given ability and arm strength that can not be taught. Even though Russell had minimal success in the NFL, he was able to compete at the highest level of amateur football in the SEC, and he was able to beat out current Raiders QB Matt Flynn at LSU.
The fact of the matter is some guys just are not ready for the NFL out of college. I am not using his struggles with weight, purple drink, or illness in the family as a cop out for his lack of success. Frankly, I am still bitter because he should still be the franchise qb of my Oakland Raiders. But If it took being labeled one of the biggest busts of all time to motivate Russell, than fine, but at least he finally starting to get it. He is finally addressing his questionable motivation and work ethic and trying to put his tools to use and redeem his name. I only hope there is a franchise out there willing to give this guy a shot, because now a days so many teams would rather stay away from circuses. If not there is always the CFL or AFL who would probably love to give him a shot.
Russell says he would be willing to give the CFL a shot too. Either way, America is a place that loves second chances and comeback stories. So if Jamarcus is successful in his, I’m sure there will be plenty of people showing him support. I just hope for his sake, his comeback has more success than Ryan Leaf, another catastrophic bust whose in jail.