JaMarcus Russell does not want to be remembered as an NFL bust.
The former top pick overall by the Oakland Raiders is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. With former NFL receiver Michael Clayton as his mentor and a team of big-name tutors, Russell is attempting to mount a comeback after three seasons out of the league.
“People don’t know the real you but I want people to know the real me and see what I can do,” Russell told Yahoo! Sports. “People are always saying that I’m a bust. I want show them I’m not. I’m committed to this now.”
At 6-foot-6, 265-pounds when he was drafted out of Louisiana State in 2007, Russell was considered the quarterback of the future for the Raiders. But his work ethic often was questioned as he compiled a 7-18 record, with 18 touchdowns and 23 passes intercepted, as the team’s starter.
He was released by Oakland in May 2010. Two months later, he was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of codeine syrup without a prescription (a grand jury decided not to indict him on the charges).
Now, Russell says he is willing to put in the work to make his comeback dream a reality. So far he seems true to his word. He has been working with Clayton and others, including former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia and Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, and has his weight down to 308 pounds after topping out at 320 this last fall.
“It’s going to feel good to go back out there again,” Russell said. “I will make this happen.”