A JaMarcus Russell comeback is on the cards… or at least that’s what JaMarcus Russell hopes.
The 27-year-old quarterback, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL draft, has not played in the league since 2009. In his final season with the Oakland Raiders, Russell registered the lowest quarterback rating, lowest completion percentage, fewest passing touchdowns, and fewest passing yards among qualifying quarterbacks in the league.
He was released by the Raiders on May 6, 2009. He trained with the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in 2010 but to no avail.
Now, however, the JaMarcus Russell comeback is on. The quarterback is currently undergoing some punishing cardio conditioning and is reportedly down to 308 pounds from the 320 pounds he weighed this past fall. Speaking to Yahoo!, Russell admitted his yearning to play again came from watching football on TV:
“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.
“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.”
Russell certainly doesn’t lack external support for his bid to play in the NFL again. According to Yahoo!, the man driving the JaMarcus Russell comeback is none other than former NFL wide receiver Mike Clayton. Reportedly, Russell will also be training with Brian Martin of TEST Football Academy and TEST West, the guys who produced rather more successful draft picks, such as Joe Flacco and Patrick Peterson.
Furthermore, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon, Dr. Robert Price of Elite Minds, former NFL wide receiver Quinn Early, former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner, and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk are all teaming up to lend their collective expertise. A determined Russell told Yahoo!:
“I’m not looking for a pat on the shoulder from people who haven’t been there for me. 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.”
Do you believe in a JaMarcus Russell comeback? For what it’s worth, Twitter seems to be its refreshingly uncynical self on the subject:
I hear JaMarcus Russell is planning a comeback to the NFL. I’m hoping he hired Lindsay Lohan to get him back into playing condition. #Drank
— psychedelicatessen (@MentalRiot) January 23, 2013
JaMarcus Russell will attempt to make a comeback. Shouldn’t be a problem. I’m sure there are a few groundskeeper jobs open among NFL teams.
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) January 23, 2013
JaMarcus Russell is attempting a comeback. Yes, really. Stock up on the Purple Drank.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) January 23, 2013