This move shows good ambition for the former LSU star. He has had a very rough time since his release from the Oakland Raiders, which happened on May 6th, 2010, only three years since being the first player taken in the 2007 NFL Draft.
While the codeine arrest in 2010 may not kill off every possible chance of a return to the NFL, it is a huge off-field concern and provides more baggage that already comes with the headache that is Russell.
American sports are known for giving second chances, breathing life into careers that once looked dead and lost for good. Russell only lasted 25 starts for the Raiders and went 7-18 in those games. He has career passing numbers of 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a 65.2 passer rating.
He was a No. 1 pick for a reason in 2007, having a 6'6'' and possessing a rocket arm, and to be fair, the Raiders gave up on Russell maybe a bit too soon.
JaMarcus Russell's return to NFL status:
But who could blame them?
The problem with Russell is that he cannot keep in shape. In 2009, Russell was fined by Oakland for being 15 pounds overweight, at 275 pounds. In March 2010, it was reported that Russell came into camp weighing 290 pounds.
Now that Russell wants to return to the NFL, he is 308 pounds. But give him credit, he was 320 in the fall.
Top it off with Russell's poor work ethic and three seasons out of football, and he'll have a heck of a time making an NFL return.
Though he does offer a nice set of skills, this is still the same JaMarcus Russell that drove Oakland fans crazy.
His stint in Oakland was a colossal bust and his codeine and weight problems make him that much less appealing.
He cannot be seen as a veteran backup, especially in a season where rookie quarterbacks dominated the league. Teams are either trying to find a backup quarterback, a quality backup or a young player with a ton of upside to develop. Russell barely qualifies for the latter of those three.
Give the kid credit at least. He is trying to work off all of the weight that he has gained and actually earned money playing football. His NCAA career allowed him to steal $39 million with the Raiders, and he averaged $110,000 in earnings per completion.
While I wish nothing but the best for Russell, an NFL return might be too little too late. Unless the 27-year-old can work himself into incredible shape and earn the right to compete in an NFL training camp, his past may be too significant to overlook in a possible return to the National Football League.