JaMarcus Russell mounts comeback

  • ESPN.com news services | January 23, 2013

Saying he doesn't want to be remembered as a "bust," quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2009, is attempting a comeback.

Russell, the former No. 1 overall pick of the Raiders in 2007, has been out of football since Oakland released him after the 2009 season.

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Russell, 27, is being mentored by former NFL receiver and fellow LSU alumnus Michael Clayton. Russell also will work out at the TEST Football Academy, which has prepared Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, among others, for the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-6 Russell, who reportedly weighed 320 pounds in the fall, is down to 308 pounds, according to Yahoo! Sports. In addition to his work at the TEST Football Academy, Russell will be tutored by former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia on technique, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk on reading defenses and several other former players, doctors and trainers.

"The last few years, the things going through my life, football is my job, and it is how it feeds my family. People would say [that] I didn't love the game, but that pisses me off," Russell told Yahoo! Sports. "People don't know the real you, but I want people to know the real me and see what I can do. People are always saying that I'm a bust. I want to show them I'm not. I'm committed to this now."

Russell won only seven of his 25 starts in his career with Oakland. He completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2.

He was paid approximately $39 million for his three seasons with the Raiders.

Russell was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, a drink containing codeine syrup, when sheriff's officers raided his home in July 2010. A grand jury, however, ultimately declined to indict him on the charges later that year.

Former NBA player John Lucas had been serving as Russell's life coach in late 2010, but the pair severed their relationship in 2011.

Yahoo! Sports reported that Russell, trying to make up for his past mistakes, has regularly spoken with youth groups about his arrest and poor decisions he has made.

"I'm not looking for a pat on the shoulder from people who haven't been there for me," Russell told the website. "It feels funny not to go through a training camp, that's just what I'm used to. It's going to feel good to go back out there again. I will make this happen."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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