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JaMarcus Russell transforming his body?

Turns out I may have jumped the gun on the post I wrote about how JaMarcus Russell should just quit football after reports surfaced that he wasn’t at the Raiders’ first offseason conditioning program on Monday.

From the Oakland Tribune:

“He’s trying to close a home in Alabama. It’s something that he couldn’t get out of,” Brown said. “You don’t want to lose your home. So he’ll be back in town today and ready to go (Tuesday).”

“You’ll be surprised when you see him,” Brown said. “It’s quite a bit of weight that he’s lost . . . I don’t want to pin it down and say how much he lost but it will be a significant difference when you see him compared to last year.

“The most important thing is he’s getting in shape. Not only losing weight, but getting in shape. He’s watching his diet, he has special meals brought in that he’s eating, and we have one of the Raiders, a former player there with him to monitor him and make sure things are going fine. The weight thing, he’ll get it down. He’ll get it down.”

If this weren’t JaMarcus Russell we’re talking about, I’d be eating a warm piece of crow right now. But he hasn’t earned the right to have people give him the benefit of the doubt. There were rumors that surfaced last year that he was in shape and then he showed up to offseason workouts with the same unconditioned body he has always had.

Plus, even if he has transformed his body, it’s about freaking time. The Raiders paid him $61 million to be the face of their franchise and so far he’s given them nothing in return. He might as well change his name to Neil McCauley because he’s been flat out stealing money.

This is a make or break year for Russell. If he ever wants to live up to his No. 1 overall billing, then he needs to put in the time and effort and make huge strides as a quarterback this year. If he wants to coast through another season, then chances are he won’t have many opportunities whenever the Raiders do decide to cut their losses and move on. I know there will always be some team that will give him a shot (look at Ryan Leaf – he still had suitors after the San Diego debacle), but it won’t be long before teams realize he’s a waste of time.


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