Former Oakland Raider JaMarcus Russell is widely considered the second-biggest bust in the history of the NFL draft.
Ryan Leaf’s renegade streak is the only thing that has kept him out of the number one spot.
Russell is attempting to make his big comeback after he milked the Oakland Raiders for $32 million
Can he do it?
After all, Russell was overweight, lazy and ineffective during his time with the Raiders and that is being kind.
He is working with former Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia on his road to redemption.
Garcia recently spoke with San Diego’s The Mighty 1900, via Sports Radio Interviews and said that things can work out for Russell in the NFL.
Garcia said that he saw first-hand in 2009 that Russell was as apathetic as advertised when he was given a shot in Oakland’s training camp.
“I could see that he just didn’t have that fire,” Garcia said.” It was one of those things where he was one of those guys who was always put on a pedestal, and he was the guy who was the very talented, very gifted individual. He was bigger than everybody else, always been that big-fish-in-a-small-pond type of scenario.
And now all of a sudden, hey, a lot of other big fish around you. Everybody’s trying to win that battle for that meal. You have to have a certain special something about you in order to survive at the highest, at the most elite of games. And unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the surrounding … people that could help him understand or see that. And he didn’t have that personal drive from within himself. And I think that’s why he had the shortness of the career that he has had. But the guy does have some tremendous tools, tremendous abilities.
Obviously he wouldn’t have been the first player taken in the draft if he didn’t have those type of tools, that type of potential. Now it’s really an understanding for him, how it feels to be on the outside looking in, and what it is going to take to get back on the inside. And whether he’ll even have that opportunity, who knows?
But I will say this: Over the past two months, now that he’s been out here in San Diego, he’s been training with our group, he’s been with us on the field, his personality, his worth ethic, his drive, his commitment is so much better than what I ever saw with him in Oakland in 2009.”
Garcia was also frank when it came time to answer if Russell’s comeback is being motivated by the feeling that he needs the money.
“It can’t be about the money,” Garcia said “And yes, unfortunately he probably is in a position where he doesn’t have what he had back a few years ago from a financial standpoint. Yes, people look at him as one of the all-time busts for a first pick in the draft. I mean, all of those things have to really be motivating factors.
More than anything else, though, it’s gotta come back to — how bad do you truly want it? How much does this game mean to you? How much do you miss playing this game? And if it means that much to you, then you’re gonna do everything within your realm to turn your life around, to turn yourself around and to prove to people that if they give you a chance, if they give you a shot, that you’re gonna prove to them that you’re worth taking the chance on.”
The magic question with Russell is and always will be about his weight. At his worst, there were days where he would have better served the Raiders by lining up as a nose tackle.
“He came with us three months ago and he weighed 312 pounds,” Garcia said. “Today, he’s about to break into the 270 mark. So, literally, he’s down 30 pounds.”
The NFL has a crazy landscape that could permit Russell to get another gig somewhere else.
If he were to flourish for anyone other than the Raiders, the fans in the Black Hole would hate him even more than they do now.
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