The JaMarcus Russell comeback attempt has seemed more like a big fat joke up to this point. For Raiders fans who watched him sloth and slur is way into the biggest bust in NFL history, it's hard to believe any team would be interested in signing him. And yet, reports are saying interest in him is growing.
According to CBS Sports' Mike Freeman, "more than a few teams" have expressed interest in this former number one overall pick. He has one NFL scout saying there is a "good chance he gets a second shot."
Before now, there had been just one team who had even mentioned him - the Jets - and they dismissed the idea, saying it was simply a passing thought but never seriously considered.
Russell has been working on his comeback attempt all off-season. One of his first goals was to get his weight down. He had gotten up to 315 pounds and now is a svelt 288 pounds. Just his work ethic to lose that kind of weight is more than he had shown at any point after the Raiders had drafted him.
The last time we saw this kind of effort from Russell was while he was still in college at LSU trying to make an impression on the NFL and cash in. Once he got that big paycheck, his work was done. He was known for being late to team meetings, not watching film, and just general complacency during his time as a Raider. At one point, he was excused from a team meeting for family reasons and was discovered drunk in Las Vegas.
Regardless of his past incidents, teams froth at the mouth at the kind of potential and physical abilities Russell showed coming out of college. With the dearth of talent at the QB position, it makes sense these teams would be interested to see if Russell has turned over a new leaf or if his lethargy was really just a product of his supposed sleep apnea or his addiction to "Purple Drank."
It is rather interesting that the Raiders just signed Matt Flynn -- Russell's backup at LSU for three years -- as their next quarterback. A year after Russell was taken number one overall, Flynn was taken in the seventh round. Everything each of the two quarterback did after that only served to prove their draft status incorrect.
By 2010, Flynn was given his first start on his way to becoming a hot commodity on the free agent market and Russell was out of the league. Now he is looking to have success with the Raiders which Russell never had. Flynn's success could be just the kind of motivation Russell needs to fuel his comeback.
This story is worth following because any franchise who signs him would immediately become a lightning rod for criticism. Can you say "Media circus"?