Former No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell may be facing an uphill climb after announcing that he is attempting a comeback in the NFL, according to NFL.com. The former starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders had weight issues and previously was arrested for abusing cough syrup.
Yahoo!Sports said the weight issue alone could hold him back from playing football for the first time since 2009.
The reclamation of Russell will follow a tricky road for a quarterback who was always known more for his physical blessings than technique. Russell, 27, who has effectively been out of football since tryouts with the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in 2010, might find overcoming himself his biggest challenge. Currently at 308 pounds, Russell is down from the 320 pounds he weighed this past fall and has been focusing on cardio conditioning the past six weeks to lose the weight.
“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,” Russell said. “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.”
However, he appears serious about a comeback. He has hired every type of quarterback coach. However, no sign of a nutritionist. Check out his entourage:
Yahoo! Sports has learned that Russell?s mentor through this whole process is former NFL wide receiver Mike Clayton, who like Russell is a LSU product. Over the next couple months, Russell will be training with Brian Martin of TEST Football Academy and TEST West, whose draft products include Joe Flacco and Patrick Peterson among others. In addition, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia (quarterback technique training), Olympian Ato Boldon (speed training and analysis), Dr. Robert Price of Elite Minds (mental and psychological analysis), former NFL wide receiver Quinn Early (disciplinary work and focus), former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner (reading defenses and classroom sessions) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk (reading defenses) will work as part of the team trying to reclaim the quarterback?s promise.
As for his involvement with codeine syrup, a.k.a. “Purple Drank,” AL.com reported he has been working on those issues
Russell’s issues have extended to off the football field. On July 5, 2010, Russell was arrested and charged in Mobile with possession of a controlled substance, identified as codeine syrup. A Mobile County grand jury later declined to indict on the drug charge. The Raiders chimed in after the arrest to say they tried to help the former LSU quarterback with a ‘myriad’ of issues. At about the same time, Russell went to Houston to work with John Lucas, the former Houston Rockets basketball star famous for waging his own battle with drug issues.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor