JaMarcus Russell to try out for Bears

JaMarcus Russell

Well after a long await, JaMarcus Russell will finally be getting his chance to prove just how far along he has come. The Former #1 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He held out that offered him a $61 million contract with $32 million of that guaranteed.

JaMarcus was not an immediate starter for the Raiders. He made his first appearance on December 2, 2007 against the Denver Broncos. His first season stats were not the most impressive in his limited time playing, as he completed 55% of his passes for 373 yards, along with 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Even so, Lane Kiffin decided to name Russell as the Raiders starting quarterback for the 2008 season.

The next two seasons would not be as hoped by the Raiders when they took Russell first pick overall. In 27 games over these two seasons Russell really struggled. He completed just 52% of his passes, while throwing for just 3,710 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. After these two abysmal seasons, the Raiders traded for Jason Campbell that season, to try and resolve their issues at the position. This left the Raiders with 5 quarterbacks for the upcoming season. It seemed as though time was finally up for Russell. On May 6, 2009 the Raiders finally let Russell go.

The 2007 NFL Draft, in which the Raiders took Russell first overall was not a stellar draft for any team looking to take a QB. The only other QB to be taken in the 1st round was Brady Quinn, 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns, and he has not lived up to the expectations of a 1st round pick either. With that said there were plenty of players taken just a few picks after Russell that could have changed the organization around for the better, that played positions other than QB. Some of these names include the likes of Calvin Johnson (1st Rd, 2nd pick), Adrian Peterson (1st Rd, 7th pick), Patrick Willis (1st Rd, 11th pick), or Darrelle Revis (1st Rd, 14th pick). All of these players impact a team in terms of offense or defense in a major way. Unfortunately the Raiders selected Russell and it just never worked out well for either party.

ESPN did a special on the comeback of JaMarcus Russell a couple of months back. Russell was very out of shape, and weighed close to 320 pounds. That is bigger than some NFL lineman, let alone any NFL QB. After the death of Russell’s uncle, whose was such a father figure to JaMarcus, he vowed that he would do anything to continue playing the sport he loved. He trained with some former NFL players, including Jeff Garcia and Marshall Faulk.

This training and hard work is finally paying off. Russell is now back down to his draft weight of 265 pounds, and is feeling better than ever. It seemed for awhile that no team was in need of any help at QB, and that he might not get a chance to prove just how far along he has come as a player or a man. Finally a couple of weeks ago, it was reported that a few teams were showing some interest. Now the Chicago Bears are holding a tryout for JaMarcus. This is probably the best new that he could have ever imagined. A second chance does not always come around in life. He must take advantage of this opportunity presented to him. He does have some pretty good odds, as the Bears are a weak team at the position. They have Jay Cutler as their starting QB, but he is always hot and cold, and you just never know if he is going to hurt or help the team on any given day. As for the two backups, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard, do not present two quarterbacks that can lead the team if something were to happen to Cutler. And speaking of Josh McCown. Russell’s NFL debut back in 2007, came in relief of this Josh McCown. Russell may be poised to once again replace McCown. Best of luck to Jamarcus Russell.

Matt Rea – NFL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

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