Here’s an Embarrassing Story About Why JaMarcus Russell Failed as an NFL Quarterback

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

By most accounts, legendary NFL draft bust JaMarcus Russell is one of the most talented individuals to take a football field. Now he's rumored to be attempting (yet another) NFL comeback.

Mike Mayock, a draft analyst for NFL Network, recalled that Russell assembled the best pro day he'd ever witnessed back in 2007. Still, he was unsure if he'd take him with an early draft pick that year.

"This year, I can't get over how good and talented JaMarcus Russell is," Mayock, a former NFL safety, said at the time. "It just blew me away. If I had the first, second, third, fourth, fifth pick in that draft, I would be tearing apart his personal life trying to figure out whether or not I could trust this kid with $10-million … From a physical skill set perspective, I've never seen a college quarterback with more ability than Russell. You put the tape on and it's frightening. The only thing that's going to keep [Russell] from being great is him. What it comes down to is you've got to figure out whether or not this kid wants to be the best quarterback in football. If he wants to be the best quarterback in football, he can be."

Soon after the Oakland Raiders selected Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, they quickly realized they'd pulled a Gob.

Beyond his paltry numbers, stories out of the Bay Area highlighted just how big (in more ways than one) a flop Russell was. He failed to show up to team activities, fell asleep during meetings, allegedly became addicted to "purple drank," and ballooned to the roughly the size of an NFL lineman rather than a signal caller. Then there's the blank DVD story.

From back in 2013:

[Rich] Eisen passed along a version of the story from Warren Sapp, who was a teammate of Russell's on the Oakland Raiders. The coaches would send Russell home with a game-plan DVD loaded with plays and ideas to study. Suspecting that their bonus-baby quarterback was skipping his homework, the coaches slipped in a blank DVD one day. When Russell returned, he reportedly said the game plan looked good to him.

Yeah, NFL teams, don't fall for any supposed comebacks from this guy.

"The guy doesn't care about football," Mayock said years after Russell was drafted. "He doesn't have the passion for the game, doesn't have the work ethic. I don't want him."


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