JaMarcus Russell will take another shot at the NFL
Russell is expected to show up at the NFL Scouting Combine to show his face and begin his comeback attempt. He's also reportedly hired a personal trainer and is in search of an agent. The only team linked to the 305 pound quarterback (who hopes to get down to a 260 playing weight) thus far has been - surprise, surprise - the New York Jets.
It makes perfect sense, doesn't it? A high-profile player who isn't good at football - JaMarcus has Gang Green written all over him.
On a serious note, the Jets have denied the reports that they had exploratory discussions about picking up Russell, and that shouldn't come as a surprise. If Russell wants another chance, he'll not only have to prove that he can still put some zip on the ball and throw it more accurately, but he'll have to convince a team that he actually has his heart set on becoming a reliable NFL quarterback.
Coming out of college, Russell had just about all the tools a quarterback needs to become a great player. While playing at LSU, Russell was smart and accurate with the football, displayed solid mobility, showed a ton of Roethlisberger-type strength in the pocket, and had what was probably the strongest arm in the history of the sport. Talent was never the issue with this guy...
Russell was notoriously one of the laziest, most apathetic players in the league. He would reportedly fall asleep during team meetings, and simply not work hard on the practice field. He claims to have been diagnosed with sleep apnea after being released by the Raiders, so that may or may not have had something to do with his lethargy. He had a abundance of ability but was not willing to work hard enough to unleash it.
Russell further hurt his chances of a comeback in 2011 when he threw his former teammates under the bus. "I may have missed a throw, but I didn't give up 42 points, I didn't miss a block," Russell said. He went on in the same interview to bash former head coach Tom Cable: "I didn't complain when he called the same plays five damn times."
Not even "life coach" John Lucas - renowned for helping athletes with personal issues - could put up with the boneheaded quarterback. Lucas not only cut ties with Russell, but asked him to leave the Houston area.
Russell's history is concerning, to say the least, but he is still only 27-years old and probably has that wealth of talent buried somewhere deep inside that massive body. If someone could convince Russell to work hard and tap into the talent that he once displayed, he could turn into a serviceable quarterback, but if I were a betting man, I'm not sure I'd even put a penny on that happening.