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JaMarcus Russell fat again? He supposedly looks like offensive tackle

JaMarcus RussellRemember how JaMarcus Russell was working his butt off in an attempt to make an NFL comeback? Yeah, well despite getting a workout with at least one team, he never was signed to a contract. He still got in excellent shape and was even looking fit back in June (the pictures are impressive), but it sounds like Russell has fallen back out of shape.

This tweet was sent by CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman on Saturday morning:

I’m hoping that Feldman just saw him from a funny angle or with a bunch of layers of clothing on, because it was cool to see Russell motivated and in good shape. Hopefully he can continue to be a positive influence on young NFL players and caution them about not taking missteps.

H/T Rotoworld

Terrelle Pryor changes jersey to No. 2, despite JaMarcus Russell curse

Terrelle-Pryor-first-seasonOakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor wore No. 2 when he was a star at Ohio State, but he has not been able to wear that number at the NFL level. Pryor wore No. 6 during his rookie season in Oakland because No. 2 was considered a cursed number after legendary draft bust JaMarcus Russell wore it during three useless seasons with the team.

This season, Pryor will be looking to erase the foul stench that is attached to No. 2. He showed up to practice on Thursday sporting his old number.

“I had to do a double take,” Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn said in response to the change, via CSNBayArea.com. “Not only was it a new number, the jersey looked a little big on him.”

If that was a fat joke, it should be noted that Russell has lost a ton of weight and is no longer a 300-pounder. Pryor wanted to wear No. 2 when he came into the league, but former Oakland head coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t allow it. Current coach Dennis Allen allowed punter Marquette King to wear No. 2 last season, and he wound up on injured reserve. King switched to No. 7 this season.

From Pryor’s perspective, the No. 2 has served him well. Raiders fans have only bad memories associated with the number in recent history, but Pryor has a chance to break the mold. That will be no easy task. At least the team didn’t have to yank the number off someone else’s back to give it to Pryor. That wouldn’t have been the first time the Raiders have done that this season.

H/T Shutdown Corner

Oakland Raiders to pay JaMarcus Russell $3 million

Brian-Billick-JaMarcus-Russell-RavensThe Oakland Raiders rid themselves of the bust that was JaMarcus Russell back in 2009, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped paying their former starting quarterback. According to SFGate.com, Russell recently settled a lawsuit with the team that will pay him another $3 million.

The Raiders filed a grievance against Russell when they released him halfway through the 2009 season, seeking repayment of $9.55 million in salary advancements. The former LSU star signed a six-year, $68 million contract in 2007 and had been paid $36.4 million at the time of his release. He filed a grievance of his own against the Raiders in 2009, seeking an additional $9 million.

The Raiders claimed that Russell’s contract had changed at one point during his time with the team, so they believed they could recoup some of his salary. The two sides were going to go to court but instead reached a settlement, with Oakland agreeing to pay Russell $3 million.

Even with all the talk about JaMarcus being the biggest bust in NFL history, I still don’t think people appreciate just how horribly the deal worked out for the Raiders. They have now paid nearly $40 million to a player who threw 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 31 careers games. Russell compiled a passer rating of 65.2 in three seasons and lost 22 fumbles.

As SFGate.com pointed out, Oakland is used to paying and receiving little in return; the team will be shelling out $49.6 million this season to players no longer on the roster.

Russell began his NFL comeback at the beginning of the year when he reportedly weighed 308 pounds, but we recently showed you this picture of a 265-pound JaMarcus. He has been working with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia in hopes of making it back into the NFL.

JaMarcus Russell has lost weight and is actually fit now

JaMarcus Russell weight loss

JaMarcus Russell is a new man. And he’s half the man he used to be — literally.

The former NFL Draft bust made it known in January that he was attempting an NFL comeback because he wanted to change his legacy. At the time he began his comeback, Russell weighed 308 pounds, which is nearly 50 pounds over his playing weight. Many people cracked jokes asking if he was making his comeback as an offensive lineman. But Russell dedicated himself to getting in shape, and he is now fit.

TEST Football academy, which has been training Russell, tweeted the photo you see above over the weekend, and they say it’s current. Russell actually looks good in the picture — he’s slim, fit, and athletic-looking. Gone are the rolls of fat around his midsection, back, sides, and head.

For a comparison, Russell looked extremely tubby when he first started the comeback. Here’s a look at the pictures:

[Read more...]

Chicago Bears reportedly giving JaMarcus Russell a tryout

JaMarcus RussellThe 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.

JaMarcus Russell comeback boosted by powerful ESPN piece (Video)

JaMarcus Russell is attempting an NFL comeback, and he got a boost from an excellent piece ESPN aired on Sunday.

The story, which was called, “JaMarcus Russell, Waking Up,” did an excellent job humanizing Russell. In less than 12 minutes, the video powerfully tells the story of Russell going from top high school talent to No. 1 NFL draft pick to bust. It delves into Russell’s personal life and suggests that Russell’s poor 2009 season — which was his last in the NFL — was the result of his inability to focus and mourn following the death of two of his uncles, including one with whom he was close.

Quotes from Russell like, “Just cause you got money doesn’t mean you’re not human,” make you empathize with him.

His mother’s comments concerning the codeine arrest were equally moving.

“It was the worst day of my life,” she says. “All this hard work trying to raise him to be the right, productive young man, I just felt like I had failed.”

The video did an excellent job of transforming Russell from a punchline to a legitimately sympathetic figure, which was probably the goal. It attempted to explain why he failed in 2009, and why he deserves and is ready for a second chance.

Though the video did an excellent job making a sales pitch for a team to give Russell another shot, I can understand why teams would be skeptical of signing him. Russell had such a poor work ethic during his first stint in the NFL, it would be hard to believe he could do a 180.

But, kudos to Russell for at least attempting the comeback, getting his story out there, and not being bashful about admitting his past problems. Hopefully he remains in decent shape even if he doesn’t get another shot. We certainly wouldn’t want to see Russell at 315 pounds again, because that is not a good look for him:

JaMarcus Russell fat

JaMarcus Russell reportedly drawing interest from teams

JaMarcus Russell has been working towards attempting an NFL comeback, and it looks like he may get an opportunity to show teams what he can do.

According to CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman, a “number of teams” have been following Russell’s comeback “closely.”

Here’s what an NFL scout reportedly told Freeman:

“I’ve been following his comeback story pretty closely. I think a lot of teams are. Good chance he gets a second shot.”

Freeman says the reason some teams are interested is because there are not enough good quarterbacks out there. If Russell gets in shape and shows a new dedication to the game, some may feel he is worthy of a roster spot.

We initially laughed off Russell’s desire to make a comeback when we read he was weighing 308 pounds in January. He apparently has cut down about 30 pounds and is getting in decent shape.

Russell has not played since the 2009 NFL season. Even if he dedicates himself to being a hard worker and good citizen, I just don’t see him offering enough upside for a team to sign him. Let me just ask you one question: how would you feel if Russell played in a game for your team? If you’re cringing at the thought, then you know the answer.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE