Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell has been much maligned in recent years, particularly by Oakland Raiders fans after his belly-flop of an NFL career. He busted out to the point where some folks declare him a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf. That's saying something.
So naturally, his decision to sit down with the folks at Sports Illustrated to bare his soul and defend the last five years is certain to get folks talking. The article is in the October 31 edition, but you can read it online.
Russell spends much of the article defending himself against many of the accusations of sloth and laziness and lack of leadership. Much of it involves casting blame on others and events out of his control. In reading the article, I can see how the situation was made more difficult by numerous obstacles that cropped up. Bad things happen to people and I understand that. At the same time, it's hard to take a man completely seriously when he does not do much to acknowledge his own failings in a given situation.
The issue I do have is with his double talk about being competitive and wanting to get back to the NFL. He proclaims himself to be a competitive person with unfinished business and he wants to get back on the football field. And yet, he turns his nose to the UFL and CFL as options for rebuilding his reputation with NFL personnel people. He says he is going to work out at LSU in the spring and build a 50-yard turf field on his property.
When asked about the UFL and CFL as options, Russell says, "Name one kid in the world who says, 'I can't wait to play in the CFL!' That s--- don't work." Kids may not dream about playing in the CFL, but ask Cameron Wake and Doug Flutie about that shit not working. Maybe working out at LSU and having a turf field will help get him an invite to a camp. Or maybe actually getting back into a competitive football situation will help him a little more.
Russell may show he can be a workout warrior, but actually getting into a legitimate competitive situation is likely to show a lot more. I guess we'll see how serious he actually is about this desire.