If JaMarcus Russell's NFL comeback is to be successful, he will have to overcome plenty of challenges. On Friday, he'll have to prove that he's able to deal with pressure when he works out for the Chicago Bears.
When the former No. 1 pick in the NFL draft announced his intentions to mount a comeback, critics may have scoffed and laughed—but earning a workout with a team means that there's some genuine buzz.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Bears are among a few teams that have significant interest in Russell.
From all indications, Russell has truly earned the buzz that his comeback efforts have drawn. Rapoport has also reported that the former LSU signal-caller has shed 50 pounds on his way to regaining his status as an NFL quarterback. He is now the same weight he was when he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders for his physical tools.
Today's JaMarcus Russell update: He's down to 265 pounds. He began his latest comeback at 315. Still work to be done. #progress— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 28, 2013
NFL veteran Jeff Garcia, who has helped Russell in his comeback bid, told NFL.com that Russell's issues in his first stint as the Raiders' quarterback were in the mental aspect, but now describes him as a "a committed young man, a young man that knew he blew an opportunity, he missed out on an opportunity back in the day."
Now at 265 pounds and sporting a renewed passion for the game, Russell is certainly an interesting prospect. The tryout isn't a surefire ticket to a gig with the Bears though. Chicago will also bring in veteran quarterbacks Trent Edwards and Jordan Palmer, according to The Chicago Tribune.
With a real shot at joining an NFL roster secured, Russell really has to elevate his game now.
The Bears brass have been intrigued enough to offer him a shot, but he'll have to show that his potential is greater than the numbers he put up as the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback. He threw just 18 touchdowns with 23 interceptions in his three seasons there.
A bad performance with the Bears and Russell's comeback attempt could wind up falling short. But a good showing could land him a job with the Bears or another tryout with one of the other teams rumored to be interested in him.
If everything that has been said about Russell is true, and he really has put in the work, Friday's workout could be the beginning of a very interesting story heading into the 2013 season.