According to ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright, the former No. 1 overall pick—who hasn't taken a snap since 2009—reportedly landed a tryout with the Chicago Bears:
Former Oakland Raiders No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell gets his first shot at returning to the NFL on Friday when he visits the Chicago Bears for a workout that will include three other signal callers, according to an NFL source with knowledge of the situation.
Wright notes that while the Bears' interest has increased significantly after seeing Russell's progress in the recent months, this is still nothing more than an opportunity to get a closer look at the 27-year-old quarterback:
Bears initially weren't interested, but changed minds after seeing how far along Russell has come along. Just taking a look. Nothing more.— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) June 4, 2013
It has been a roller-coaster ride for Russell since he entered the league.
After being drafted first overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 draft, he quickly garnered the unwelcoming "bust" label. In three seasons, he started 25 games, completed just 52.1 percent of his passes and threw for 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
After an underwhelming start, Russell quickly found himself out of the league.
During his time off, the 6'6" quarterback fell out of football shape and was up to 320 pounds. However, since news of his intended comeback to the league, he has been putting in an incredible amount of hard work and has lost more than 50 pounds.
According to Wright, Russell is now down to 265 pounds—his recorded weight when he was drafted—showing that he is more committed than ever to get his career back on track.
Will Russell be on an NFL roster to start the 2013 regular season?
Currently, the Bears have three quarterbacks on the roster. Jay Cutler started 15 games last season, Josh McCown didn't take any snaps—he did see some action in 2011—and Matt Blanchard has one year (and zero snaps) of experience.
It's unlikely the team changes that trio, but there's always a chance it could bring a fourth quarterback to training camp.
Either way, with this news, Russell's comeback has already progressed much further than many originally anticipated, and he will now take the next step toward making a successful return to the NFL.