It began as something of a joke, but it’s turned into an attention-grabbing story that has nearly every member of the sports media thinking about saying something. None of the really big outlets have let loose in proclaiming that JaMarcus Russell will eventually be welcomed back into the NFL, but the buzz has really begun.
I was one of the first to make fun of the guy (even though I’m an LSU fan) after he chose to heed the call and misguidance of his agent and stage a hold-out in a contract dispute as a rookie. It was the decision that doomed him from the get-go. If you’re a rookie QB, you get your butt to camp. There’s no excuse. Any agent suggesting money is more important than learning a system should be fired.
Following the hold-out, Russell failed to mature, got fat, fell hard, got fatter, got in trouble for purple drank, took on the look of a down-and-out blues singer, then decided he wasn’t done playing football. That’s laughable, right?
In all fairness, look at the dude. Same car he bought back in the day, looking better than he has probably looked since high school. He’s lost a total of 51 pounds since working out with former NFL ageless wonder Jeff Garcia and his new training team.
Russell has scored tryouts with a couple of squads, and he’s reportedly outplayed the others who were also invited to share in those tryouts. Still, no one has been willing to take the bait, nor fully buy into the new and improved version of JaMarcus. This begs the question: Will he wait it out and continue to study, work hard and stay in shape. Or, if no team comes a-calling, will he drift back into his poor lifestyle habits?
Perhaps it’s the optimist in me, but I believe this story has legs and is gonna go somewhere.