When Jamarcus Russell announced that he would be attempting to make a comeback in the NFL, the move was met with enormous skepticism. For starters, he is probably the only player in the history of the NFL to give Ryan Leaf a run for his money as the biggest bust in draft history. Subjective (albeit, realistic) criticism aside, the only abilities Russell displayed during his short stay in the NFL were: ripping off general managers, chugging “purple drank” and eating. For those reasons, and many more, it’s going to be no small feat for Russell to get his second shot.
This comeback is starting to seem more realistic by the day though; with his 55 lbs of lost weight in less than six months culminating in interest from several scouts league wide. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that a change of diet - from two large meals a day to six little ones - is largely responsible for the drop in weight. He also went on to add that Russell is now drinking over 100 ounces of water a day - which is vastly more healthy than the several ounces of “lean” that he had become accustomed to.
Russell has been working tirelessly at the TEST training facilities in southern California under the tutelage of former teammate Jeff Garcia, who saw first-hand the demise of Russell in Oakland. While there is still a lot of work to be done before Russell can be deemed ready for the NFL again, it is even being reported that he is throwing much like he used to in college.
With Russell’s weight back where it was going into his draft year at 265 lbs and his arm somewhere close to where it used to be, he is starting to get considerable interest from several NFL clubs. There’s no indication of which clubs are interested in Russell, but you can at the very least scratch off Arizona, Chicago and of course Oakland on the list of potential destinations.
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Russell is apparently looking to land a spot on a team with a veteran quarterback to learn from and back-up, but is open to the idea of playing in the CFL if no such team arises.
For the first time in as long as I’ve known who Jamarcus Russell is he’s committed to fitness, training, showing a willingness to learn and most importantly is surrounding himself with good people. Everybody deserves a second chance, and having timed his comeback in a year with such a dearth of talent at his position via the draft, he just might get his.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV