I have slowly become of the mindset that former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell deserves another chance in the NFL.
The former LSU Tiger star has worked hard to shed weight - some 50 pounds - according to recent reports, in effort of showing he is serious about resuming an NFL career that registered among the most colossal busts of all time.
Russell has some NFL-caliber qualities about him, including a rocket launcher of an arm, but his biggest problems stemmed from immaturity. He was lackadaisical in his preparation for and attitude toward the game, likely taking everything for granted. He had a reputation of not wanting to put in the work and resting on his collegiate laurels.
Typically, I would say "tough luck" to someone like Russell, but there is wasted potential that needs to be addressed. He is taking the responsibility of manning up and owning his past mistakes, so if there really is enough football dedication to go along with raw talent, where is there harm in bringing him in for a no-risk tryout?
I am a huge proponent of personal accountability, but how much of a role does his former franchise play in this? The Raiders were the epitome of a dysfunctional organization, while Russell was placed on a pedestal without anything to support the weight of the statue. As pressure continued to balloon, it all came crashing down ... and I'm not even trying to make fat guy joke.
His current demonstration of improved commitment should make Russell a worthwhile gamble off the street through a non-guaranteed contract. He is only 27 years old and has none of the pressure facing a first overall draft pick. There is zero harm in bringing Russell into a structured organization and allowing him to properly learn the ropes of the NFL. Maybe, just maybe, he has something positive to offer an NFL franchise down the line.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
Don't miss these great reports....