Reports out of the Bear’s camp showed pleasant signs from Russell, who weighed in at around 265 pounds, near his playing weight as a rookie.
At the workout, NFL sources cited a “positive demeanor” and his “big arm.” The ideal landing spot for the former Raiders QB would be a franchise with a stable quarterback situation.
Before the workout, the Baltimore Ravens also had shown “tepid” interest in Russell. After the Bears took the plunge, it’s now expected that he will get a few more looks before training camp gets into full swing, according to CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman.
The recent issues with the former No. 1 pick have revolved around his playing weight and mental makeup. After going through a strict workout program run by former quarterback Jeff Garcia, Russell has made it clear that he wants to return to pro football.
Now that it seems that he is the slimmer, mature player that the Raiders envisioned, the allure of his big arm won’t keep NFL teams away from him for long.
Back in Oakland, the Raiders gave up 66 sacks in two seasons with Russell behind center. In terms of protection, the former No. 1 pick didn’t get a fair shake in a Raiders uniform.
This isn’t to say that Russell would be able to manufacture touchdowns and game-winning drives behind a better offensive line. Positioned as a quality backup, though, would not be far-fetched. B/R Lead Writer Aaron Nagler echoes a similar sentiment, as long as the costs are light:
In a league that has rolled out Sanchez as a starter for years, having Jamarcus Russell in for a cup of coffee makes more than a bit o sense— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) May 29, 2013
The number of adequate NFL quarterbacks in the league is scarce, no matter how you slice it. Only 21 quarterbacks finished with a QB rating over 80 last season. In addition, there could be as many as six new starting quarterbacks this season.
Teams are always trying to upgrade at the position and find the right fit for their offenses. Whether it’s the Ravens, Colts, Seahawks or another team who can keep Russell in line, he will get his NFL redemption story soon enough.