Lighter by almost 50 pounds since he began his comeback attempts, the new fitter and slimmer version of JaMarcus Russell, trying to find his way back into the NFL, might get his chance some time soon, with more than one team interested in trying him out.
Russell, 27, hasn’t been in the league since the 2009 season, trying out for various franchises before dropping off the radar, as it seemed his lack of discipline and ability to remain in shape, possibly caused by the huge expectations thrust upon his shoulders once he became the number one pick for the Oakland Raiders (and the contract that came along with it), isn’t going to bring him back.
But he’s decided that he loves the game and wants another shot at it, and slimming down to 265, the weight he was at when the Raiders selected him in 2007, seems to have stirred some interest with a couple of teams around the league, but with everyone in the OTA stage of preseason, it might be a little bit early to tell how far this is going.
Russell doesn’t expect anyone to give him a chance to start – he just wants a job, but he does have his ambitions and terms, wanting to play for a team that will allow him to sit behind a veteran quarterback, giving him both the chance to learn and not be pressured to jump in right away when things don’t go so well.
The NFL isn’t the only option for Russell, who is eyeing the CFL as well if his comeback attempt doesn’t work. It seems he has given himself a deadline, something around the next six to seven weeks, in which he’ll see if he joins an NFL team or steps back from it and tries to find himself a team north of the border.