For most football players, when their careers finally end, rarely does it happen on their terms. More often than not (WAY more often, actually), players are either asked to leave, never asked back, or beat up physically to the point of no return. The bravest of football warriors continue to try over and over to defy the football gods, oftentimes toiling in torturous pain, sweating and grinding for as long as their legs will allow, constantly striving for one more shot at the brass ring.
The above paragraph depicts an image of an NFL player that would be the polar opposite of former number one overall pick and NFL washout extraordinaire, JaMarcus Russell. So to say that Russell's reported attempt at another NFL comeback is puzzling is a mild understatement.
Oh, but apparently it's happening. And for a radio host responsible for 22 hours of on air content (not to mention thousands of words in this here blog) every week, let me just say "Welcome back, JaMarcus! We have missed you so. Now sit down and have a glass of the purple drank..."
A few thoughts on this earth shaking (literally, the earth shook as JaMarcus ran the 40 last week) news:
1. It's the age of mobile quarterbacks, not Mobile quarterbacks. I'm picturing JaMarcus sitting on his sofa (or possibly even Tyrann Mathieu's sofa) in Baton Rouge, open bag of Ruffles in his lap, chalice of purple drink on the table, watching an NFL Countdown feature on a Sunday morning. (Keep in mind, this would mean Russell was awake before noon. Please, suspend disbelief.) The feature is about the new wave of running quarterbacks -- Kaepernick, Wilson, RG3 -- and the announcers keep touting how "mobile quarterbacks" are taking over the league. Immediately, Russell, a native of Mobile, AL,
is helped up pops up off the couch and says "HEY! I'M FROM MOBILE!" A phone call is made...to Domino's. Then another phone call is made to his agent. Genesis of a comeback.
In all seriousness, how funny is it in this new phase of running quarterbacks, that a 300 plus pound lard with moves like THIS is attempting a comeback:
2. No, seriously, he's WELL over 300 pounds Reports indicate that JaMarcus is actually DOWN to 308 pounds (four words you never want to hear together, by the way..."DOWN to 308 pounds") from 320 pounds. Those are just reports. I prefer to look at these stills from grainy security footage from a Baton Rouge eatery and see with my human eyes. Behold, Mount JaMarcus!
Neck rope! Cargo pants! Tank top! These pictures are amazing!
3. Is it possible to have more people working on the JaMarcus Project? Houstonians who follow Russell will remember stories from a couple years ago of Russell briefly relocating to Houston to work with John Lucas on rehabbing his life and his career. Lucas, in a way one of the great reclamation projects himself considering his battle with addiction, is a renowned, no nonsense taskmaster when it comes to working with young players. Physically, mentally, he will challenge guys. Stories of Lucas' workouts in non air conditioned gyms are legendary.
Naturally, Russell lasted like seven minutes with Lucas.
Now, according to the Yahoo! article about Russell's comeback, he has a team of former players, athletes, and doctors trying to reconstruct a reasonable facsimile of the player that was drafted first overall in 2007:
Yahoo! Sports has learned that Russell's mentor through this whole process is former NFL wide receiver Mike Clayton, who like Russell is a LSU product. Over the next couple months, Russell will be training with Brian Martin of TEST Football Academy and TEST West, whose draft products include Joe Flacco and Patrick Peterson among others. In addition, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia (quarterback technique training), Olympian Ato Boldon (speed training and analysis), Dr. Robert Price of Elite Minds (mental and psychological analysis), former NFL wide receiver Quinn Early (disciplinary work and focus), former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner (reading defenses and classroom sessions) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk (reading defenses) will work as part of the team trying to reclaim the quarterback's promise.
Wow. All the king's horses and all the king's men have nothing on that crew. And Giants fans have to be laughing out loud at the idea of Scott Brunner helping Russell with reading defenses.
Why not get former Giant Joe Pisarcik to help Russell with ball security?
4. Cue the "So is Notre Dame's 2006 secondary making a comeback, too?" It's been a rough month for Domers. A 42-14 thrashing at the hands of Alabama in the BCS title game. Rumors of Brian Kelly flirting with the NFL. The whole Manti Te'o debacle, followed by former ND wide receiver Tim Brown accusing Bill Callahan of throwing the 2003 Super Bowl. Well, considering Russell cemented his "number one overall in the draft" status in the 2007 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame, his comeback isn't helping.
5. JaMarcus Russell's comeback means we can dust off Mel Kiper's draft day assessment of Russell!
Berman's fawning over Russell's ability to throw 60 yards from his knees will never be anything less than hysterical. Ditto, Kiper's entire diatribe. Words that will haunt the Raiders forever -- Mel saying "Yeah, they could have taken Calvin Johnson" and then listing all the reasons Russell was a better choice. I mean, Kiper compared JaMarcus Russell to John Elway! JOHN. ELWAY.
He's an expert, people.
Also, Russell's comeback means we get to hear white announcers saying the words "purple drank," always hilarious:
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I am putting the odds of Russell winding up in somebody's 2013 training camp at about +50,000. I am putting his 2013 signing with the competitive eating circuit at -150.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.