Now that the Raiders have cut ties with quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the question becomes whether another team will give Russell a chance to fulfill the potential that made him the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Surely, someone will. Every coach thinks that he’s the coach who’ll get through to a player who, for whatever reason, has been a failure.
And every first-round bust who washes out with his first NFL team gets another chance, somewhere. Ryan Leaf did. Akili Smith did. J.P. Losman did.
Also, assuming that the Raiders wanted Russell to take a pay cut, his agents were in position to shop the bottom-line offer. Though it would have been tampering, it happens all the time.
The cruelest irony, from the Raiders’ perspective, would be for Russell to finally take his career seriously in a new city, and to finally become a great player. Like Eagles coach Buddy Ryan cutting Cris Carter 20 years ago to send him a clear message, Russell may finally wake up and dedicate himself to becoming the best player he can be.
Or not. It won’t be easy for Russell, but surely there’s at least one coach out there who thinks he can do a better job than Lane Kiffin or Tom Cable did with a player who has an All-Pro arm, but a Pop Warner work ethic.