One of the biggest draft busts in NFL history is preparing for a comeback. JaMarcus Russell, former number one overall selection of the Oakland Raiders, is spending time getting in shape in hopes of getting his first taste of NFL action since being released by the Raiders in 2009.
Per Yahoo! Sports, Russell is currently weighting 308-pounds, which is actually a good thing, after weighing 320-pounds over the fall.
The 27-year-old quarterback had tryouts with the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in 2010, but his love for cheeseburgers and sizzurp was too much for him to overcome. Since those failed attempts at finding a home in the league, the interest in Russell’s services have been non-existent.
He is hoping all of that will change now.
“My first year out, I couldn’t watch football but after a while, I couldn’t keep the TV off. I got that itchy feeling but now I gotta watch it, gotta watch,” Russell said.
“The last few years, the things going through my life, football is my job and it is how it feeds my family. People would say [that] I didn’t love the game but that pisses me off. People don’t know the real you but I want people to know the real me and see what I can do. People are always saying that I’m a bust. I want show them I’m not. I’m committed to this now.”
Yahoo! also learned that Russell will have a full team of mentors as he prepares for his comeback:
Russell’s mentor through this whole process is former NFL wide receiver Mike Clayton, who like Russell is a LSU product. Over the next couple months, Russell will be training with Brian Martin of TEST Football Academy and TEST West, whose draft products include Joe Flacco and Patrick Peterson among others. In addition, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia (quarterback technique training), Olympian Ato Boldon (speed training and analysis), Dr. Robert Price of Elite Minds (mental and psychological analysis), former NFL wide receiver Quinn Early (disciplinary work and focus), former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner (reading defenses and classroom sessions) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk (reading defenses) will work as part of the team trying to reclaim the quarterback’s promise.
With all of that top level help, it appears that Russell is serious about making a return to the league. For once in his career, we can look at Russell and say that he is doing everything in his power to put himself in a position to succeed. In the past, it seemed that Russell was happy collecting paychecks and relying on raw talent without ever improving.
It’s easy to scoff at a potential Russell comeback, but there is no denying his determination. Being out of the league has made him hungrier than ever — for success, not the all-you-can-eat buffet.
“I’m not looking for a pat on the shoulder from people who haven’t been there for me,” Russell said. “It feels funny not to go through a training camp, that’s just what I’m used to. It’s going to feel good to go back out there again. I will make this happen.”