The Chicago Bears reportedly are bringing in JaMarcus Russell for a workout, marking the first time the former No. 1 overall pick will get a shot to perform for an NFL team (that we know of) since he began his comeback in January.
Russell weighed 320 pounds when he first began his comeback attempt. With the assistance of TEST Football Academy, Russell slowly shed weight and reportedly is down to 265 pounds, which is what he weighed when he entered the NFL. The Bears considered that a strong enough sign to believe he is serious about resuming his career. They decided to give him a workout so they can get a current evaluation of his abilities.
According to ESPN Chicago, the Bears are bringing in Russell along with three other quarterbacks for the workout. The Chicago Tribune says Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer are two of the other QBs. There is no guarantee any of those quarterbacks will be signed to a contract. The team currently has Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, and Matt Blanchard under contract and is contemplating bringing a fourth to training camp. If Russell impresses, that might convince the team to take a shot at him.
Russell has been working with former Pro Bowlers Jeff Garcia and Marshall Faulk and genuinely seems interested in resuming his career. A previous report from NFL Network said Russell wanted to learn behind a veteran if he gets a shot at redemption. He has not played professional football since being cut by the Oakland Raiders in 2010.
USA Today’s Mike Garafolo also reports that the Baltimore Ravens have shown a “significant amount of interest” in Russell and could try to work him out.
While I’m supportive of Russell’s comeback attempt and desire to change his legacy and image, I would have serious concerns about signing him if I were an NFL team. He has so much baggage that he would become a distraction at training camp, not quite to Tim Tebow levels, but to a similar extent. He would have to be awfully good to convince me that he’s worth having the coaches and players answer daily questions about him. I can’t imagine that he will be that good.