COMMENTARY | Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell is around the “halfway point” in his comeback and is now weighing 27 pounds lighter than his starting weight. At about 315 pounds when he started working out again, he is now at a “more-manageable” 288 pounds. His goal is to reach 270 pounds.
As much as I’d like to see a struggling player succeed with a second chance, I just don’t see him finding his way back into the NFL. Russell appears to be making a concerted effort at a return, but his comments about his progress are concerning, off-putting and adds doubt into his chances at success.
“Through the first couple weeks, I could barely make it through the workout,” Russell said. “We go in to do the warmup, and here I am breathing like a fat man. Now I’m breathing pretty good and able to stand up on my own two feet.”
While he’s referring to his previous shape, these are words you never want to hear from an athlete. From being a “fat man” to just now being able to breathe well and “stand up on my own two feet,” these are comments in line with someone who is overweight. Thinking about how his poor shape was just one of many reasons why he was a bust for the Raiders, he still has a long way to go before being worth the risk for a NFL team.
With former quarterback Jeff Garcia and the TEST Academy in San Diego helping him prepare for his pro day on or about April 10, he’ll supposedly throw to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Even with so much help behind him, I’m not convinced that the former No. 1 overall pick can do the unthinkable and make it back in the league.
Effort and dedication can only go so far, as his extra baggage just adds to many added pounds for this “fat man.”
Follow and interact with Austin Chang on Twitter @_austinchang.
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