JaMarcus Russell wrote every team, asking for a chance

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JaMarcus Russell’s name comes up every year at draft time, as a cautionary tale about how bad a first overall pick can turn out. But Russell also wants NFL teams to consider him as a player who deserves another chance.

Russell told SI.com that he would like to play again, and he wrote a letter to every team saying so.

“As a former NFL player, I understand the daily grind that football operations can be,” Russell wrote. “I am prepared to be physically examined and to have my football IQ evaluated. I would sincerely like an opportunity to come to Dallas and meet with you and the coaching staff. I know that my name does not carry much weight in the NFL right now but I am more than the image that others have bestowed on me. I’ve been labeled as a bust, I have been labeled as lazy and I have been the target of many insults by the media. The blame for any negative press that I’ve received rests squarely on my shoulders.”

Russell says he’d be a water boy if that’s what it took to get a shot in the NFL, and that he’d run the scout team for free.

“You might see me back,” Russell said. “You never know.”

The reality is, we know: JaMarcus Russell will not get another chance at the NFL. Russell hasn’t played since 2009, when he threw three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Russell is done in the NFL, even if he doesn’t realize it.

145 responses to “JaMarcus Russell wrote every team, asking for a chance

  1. Man, that’s like standing at the back of your ex-girlfriend’s wedding holding a sign saying, “Are you sure, baby? Take me back, baby!”

  2. Frustrating as he did show something. His second year as a 23 year old QB – 13 td’s and 8 ints (Went 18a, 15c against Miami) and had some good moments. However the following offseason, his mentor/Uncle Ray-Ray died, he then went with the wrong crowd, got addicted to that purple cough syrup stuff and turned up at camp in a mess.

    Russell had a major chance to do something and threw it away. Was it down to the loss of his mentor or someone just not used to that sort of money he had (Turning up at camp in a fur coat etc).

    You just dont know how some young players will react once they have 30 mill in the bank as a signing bonus.

    Again whats frustrating is this guy DID show something his second season. He wasnt like Ryan Leaf or Dan McGuire who showed nothing. But he’ll never get a second chance specially now.

  3. Inflation must have hit the sizzurp market. Sorry, JaMarcus, you had your shot.

    Its okay, you can cry onto Manziel’s shoulder.

  4. This is a very sad lesson for all to learn from…
    “Nothing worse than wasting talent and opportunity”…..
    Unfortunately we see it with every draft class…..
    (I. E. Dion Jordan #3 overall pick 2013)

  5. I respect him trying. It takes a lot to humble oneself especially in this day and age in which everything has the chance to go viral.

    I hope he does get some shot, even if minor.

    Just don’t give up when everyone is saying no. Keep grinding.

  6. 80% of his struggles were his own fault for various reasons, but given the current QB crop in the NFL, there is no reason he shouldn’t have a shot at carrying the clipboard somewhere……I watched him in college make accurate crisp throws from the pocket and throw 70 yard bombs on the money….He is like 6 foot 7 with a big frame……His talent potential is undeniable…

  7. I give him credit for the letter and for trying. However the road back will be much more difficult. That letter should have gone to all the arena league teams. He’s gotta make it there first. Even getting that chance is a long shot.

  8. I am guessing his money is gone and now he wants another shot. Did not seem to interested in playing when he was drafted. He wanted to party and eat. Now the bill is due

  9. and just when we all thought that Manziel had it wrapped up, JaMarcus swoops in out of NOWHERE, making Jonny look like a rocket scientist and wins it:

    Biggest, lotto ticket burning clown draft bust in NFL history

  10. The headline should’ve read “JaMarcus Russell wrote every team, asking for a sandwich”

  11. If any team even opened the letter, they quit reading when he said…

    ” but I am more than the image that others have bestowed on me.”

    You can see he still doesnt take ownership of his issues even though he says the blame is on his shoulders two sentences later.


  12. Maybe if 6 years ago he had worked hard, been in great shape, worked with a QB guru like Tom House and gained some humility and work ethic then they might have given him a chance.
    Instead he had a massive entitlement mentality and would not do the extremely hard work required to be an NFL QB. Too little too late Russell, it is time to start your post NFL career and good luck !!

  13. Canada. He should have been in Canada, the last 3 or 4 years, and needs to get up their asap.

    Put something on film and show he can act like a professional and a leader.

  14. “I am more than the image that others have bestowed on me.”

    52% career completion percentage, more ints than TDs, 131 y/g, 65 career QB rating, 7-18 as a starter.

    Your image is 100% your own creation and entirely justified.

  15. Manziel is heading down the same path. When you’re young you don’t know what you have till it’s gone. Sometimes when you’re older too.

  16. If Jamarcus *really* wanted to work back in the NFL, or had any little bit of professional pride, he’d be in the CFL right now.

    Until that happens, he has earned the professional scorn received in the media.

  17. He obviously had a publicist write this, as I’m not sure Russell even knew the word “bestowed”.

  18. Maybe if he was any good. The media hyped him up and got him picked number one. A lot of people were saying he had bust written all over him. That was ignored.

    Why does he think he would be better now? He wasn’t any good before, got bounced out of the league. Not playing football doesn’t make players better.

  19. While we look at him and throw stones, an awful lot of us let something good slip away and didn’t realize it’s value until it was gone. I feel bad for the guy but he is correct, the blame rests solely on his shoulders.

  20. If he wants to make an impact with the NFL he needs to get his life together and become a mentor/personal trainer for young players and prospects.

  21. On one hand I feel bad for JaMarcus. He was a young dumb kid who made mistakes that a young dumb kid would be known to make.

    On the other hand, he made his bed…now he has to sleep in it…it’s unfortunate but the reality of the situation.

  22. If quarterbacking was 90% physical and 10% mental, JaMarcus would be a star. But it’s the other way around. If you can’t figure out what the defenses are going to do before they do it, you don’t have much of a chance. That’s why Peyton Manning runs to the sidelines, sits down, and starts looking at those photos. He’s still trying to learn, even after he’s mastered it. If I were JaMarcus, I’d give Peyton Manning a call.

  23. It’s real simple, he burned through all that money he stoled from the Raiders.

    That’s it, that’s all.

  24. Props for trying. I give him a lot of credit for that. Hopefully another opportunity of some type will come along and repair him for his effort.

  25. I wouldnt be so fast to end his career for him Smith… let the man prove himself to whoever wants to listen. Everyone thought ol Tommy Maddox was done then he shocked the NFL world and the XFL world as well a few years ago. Not saying i support or thing Russell has a chance… but you as a writer have no power to end his career!

  26. Here is a guy who truly pissed away the golden opportunity. He had the talent, he had the opportunity, what he lacked was the intestinal commitment. It is truly hard to feel sorry for a guy like that.

    Now, the reality has finally hit home, but much too late. And I will agree with everyone who says why didn’t you write to every team in the arena league, or the CFL. He gets it, but not completely

  27. Pay attention Johny Manziel, that’s your Ghost of Christmas Future right there.

  28. He became the biggest joke in the NFL, and I know it’s his own fault, but I actually feel sorry for the guy that had it all. 1st pick, rocket arm had it all, and let it go up in smoke. Youngsters, let that be a lesson to you. He will long be remembered as the biggest NFL bust ever. I wonder if he saved any of the 50 mil The Raiders paid him? Nahhh, we’re talking about JeMarcus Ruussell.

  29. Come to Dallas? If Jerry signed him I would lose my manhood and become a Philly fan.

  30. Not really as difficult and time consuming as one may think all he did was draw up the draft kept it the same and just changed the team name and emailed each on out not exactly something that takes all day

  31. I don’t know see any harm in bringing him in for a workout. However, he probably should try and see if an Arena or Canadian team will give him a chance. He could at least show NFL teams recent film of him playing to evaluate.

  32. i thank Satan himself everyday that Uncle Al is no longer running this franchise

  33. How about repairing your image play better in the CFL and then have a chance in the NFL..prove yourself what a concept..

  34. Problem is the letter was written in crayon and had purple drank stains all over it.

  35. No reason not to work the guy out or put him on the practice squad or whatever and see what happens. Teams should leave no stone unturned until they have the long term answer at QB.

  36. Sad…you only get one shot at true greatness…this is a lesson for the young folks out there with immense talent yet no work ethic

  37. 2016StockMarketCrash says:
    Apr 26, 2016 6:40 AM

    This is a very sad lesson for all to learn from…
    “Nothing worse than wasting talent and opportunity”…..
    Unfortunately we see it with every draft class…..
    (I. E. Dion Jordan #3 overall pick 2013)
    IE – Aaron Curry
    IE – Jake Locker
    IE – Trent Richardson
    (The list is SO long we tend to only remember a few memorable ones because the media lauded them as the next superstar…)

  38. Give Elway a call. Denver is looking to pay cut rate at QB. You can’t tell me butt fumble has any more cred than Jabustus.

  39. That ship sailed long ago, but that’s back when you were too arrogant to get on board.
    Nothing is more sad than wasted talent.

    Have a great time selling TVs at Best Buy.

  40. There are things in life that comes along only once in a lifetime and once you squander it it’s gone forever. Russell had his and he had it better than even most of his peers he entered the NFL. He was the first overall pick of the draft, paid millions, and a quarterback. Once a franchise bets its future on you players in his position get MULTIPLE chances before the NFL says we’re done with you and you have to have a combination of bad play and a seriously messed up attitude/drug problem etc before every team in the league collectively washes it’s hands of you.

  41. Maybe shouldn’t have been falling asleep in the team meetings and such Jamarcus. Al Davis was the one owner who would have defended you, but you even burned that bridge on your way out of the league. Go back to sipping. It was so funny to you 7 years ago when they were trying to help you save your career.

  42. Of the 68MM contract of which 32MM guaranteed, he has a net worth of 2MM.
    If he lives somewhere inexpensive, and gets 4% on his money, thats still 80K a year, which is a comfortable middle class life style.

  43. Inflation must have hit the sizzurp market. Sorry, JaMarcus, you had your shot.

    Its okay, you can cry onto Manziel’s shoulder.


    I bet Manziel will get a second chance…..not sure why Russell never got a second chance with the lack of QB in the league, you would think he could get a work out or an invite to a camp or something, Tebow got 4 chances….. its too late now, you can’t be away from the game more than 2 yrs and expect to perform on a high enough level to play in the NFL, it just doesn’t work that way, you will see when Josh tries his come back after being suspended for the last few yrs….

  44. “I am more than the image that others have bestowed on me”

    No one “bestowed” anything on you, you earned every bit of that image.

  45. What are the odds he actually wrote that statement? Probably about the same as his odds of getting another chance.

    Like many I wonder why he never bothered to try the CFL. I think it’s because he had a ton of money and didn’t care if he ever played anymore. He thought he had enough to last for the rest of his life but it only lasted a few years. Now he’s broke and wants someone to give him a chance. At this point he’s like the boy who cried wolf. Even if he were dedicated nobody is going to believe him.

  46. Really want back in Jamarcus?

    Suck it up and see if Canada or Arena league wants you…pay your dues, try to dominate if you can…and then MAYBE…but still a very long shot

  47. Wow, lot of hate here in the comments. I would take him up on his offer (not for free but whatever practice minimum is) to work the scout team and be on practice squad and see how he does for a year. If nothing else that big arm could be useful in improving your WR talent.

  48. Remember, JaMarcus had a tryout with the Bears with Trestman. If Trestman couldn’t even find a place for him as a camp arm in the offseason 2-3 years ago, I doubt there’s much left in the tank for JaMarcus. 1 year of not playing NFL football is a long time, and a significant hurdle. 7 years out sounds insurmountable.

    Time to pack it in, JaMarcus. There’s plenty of other employment opportunities around the NFL other than playing: Coaching, Scouting, Mentoring new players, etc. Look for some of those opportunities and be humble about it. One of those 32 teams you wrote to will give you a chance… not at QB, true, but you can still be a part of this game you love.

  49. Al Davis’ Greatest Moments:
    1) Drafting JBust;
    2) Vendetta against Marcus Allen;
    3) Sued NFL repeatedly;
    4) Moved back to Oakland with tail tucked; and
    5) Traded second best coach, Gruden.

  50. Why not? The guy obviously has natural talent. His body could play, but his heart and his head were all screwed up. If my backup quarterback is Trevor Siemian or Jimmy Clausen, why would I not at least evaluate whether JaMarcus may have gotten himself squared away? People can change. Nobody’s saying plug him in as a starter – just give his new attitude as much of a chance as some of these perennial backups have had.

  51. I am by no means a hard hearted man but I don’t feel sorry for Russell one bit. You have people in this world who work their fingers to the bone all day everday and will never see that kind of coin in their life time. This is a guy who came from very humble beginnings. It’s not like he grew up as some entitled brat with a silver spoon. He played his way into a chance of a lifetime got rewarded and called it a day.

    He’s been out of the league what??? 7 years? The defenses are much faster with more sophisticated blitz packages. What this is really about is he’s seen the QB salaries balloon even for marginal 2nd stringers and he want’s in. Should’ve had the foresight to see that when you got paid back in 07′. Had he stayed in the league this whole time even if he wasn’t a starter can you imagine what he’d be making?? He does!

    I’ll sum it up with this: I remember when Larry Bird was asked about the grind of the NBA by a reporter. His response was, ” I work 3 hours a day and get paid millions of dollars. How can I not love what I do”?

  52. The consensus here is that he is done…which is no doubt accurate. But, like any player that thinks he has some talent but can’t get a shot…go to the CFL or Arena league. Writing letters to the NFL is a lazy way of restating the obvious…I have talent….but I won’t put in the work to get there. OK…we get it.

  53. Nothing screams “what have you done for me lately” than the NFL.

    When you’ve already received more chances that you deserve, you’re done.

  54. JaWalrus you’d have a better chance FLOPPING carelessly onto a beach than a BENCH. Take your JaJelly ass serious, put in your DEW diligence, work hard, and you may make water boy. Just no purple syrup in the water. JaBust ir all you!!!

  55. Nothing wrong with any team working him out as long as he doesn’t want crazy money. As a head coach in this league, why would you care what anyone else thought of the guy if you work him out and he has something left to put on the field?

  56. Maybe the publicist who wrote this letter for JaWalrus can write a similar letter for “Jonathan” Manziel.

  57. For all you folks that think the CFL is a stepping stone to the NFL, it rarely works that way. Did you ever wonder why Anthony Calvillo never got a real shot in the NFL? Probably not, because you’ve probably never heard of him. He holds the record for most passing yards by a professional quarterback.

  58. “Dear Raders ,

    I know that the Purple Drank and my eating habits ruined my potential… I swear I stopped drinking the syrup and my diet has really cleaned up.. I am now down to 300lbs…

    Sincerely (hungry)

  59. Jamarcus the ONLY chance you have of getting back into the NFL is to go up to Canada and work your butt off for a season or two and do well enough for some NFL team to give you a shot.

    It’s your only chance– don’t let pride get in the way.

  60. thejesusofcool says:
    Apr 26, 2016 10:42 AM

    Al Davis’ Greatest Moments:
    1) Drafting JBust;
    2) Vendetta against Marcus Allen;
    3) Sued NFL repeatedly;
    4) Moved back to Oakland with tail tucked; and
    5) Traded second best coach, Gruden.

    Darrius Heyward Bey?????

    Passing on Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and a list of others…

  61. ” but I am more than the image that others have bestowed on me.”

    Reading between the lines, it means “I’m fatter than ever!!!”

  62. I recall the plight of Jeff George some years ago; had the skill set and everything but after bouncing around the league, he was never able to get onto a team as a backup. This from a player who posted a 91.2 rating in a season (Raiders – 1997, 29 TD/9 Int.); JaWalrus never even came close to anything like this, and was never committed to improving himself – he felt as if he has hit the lottery and behaved accordingly.

    Face it – no one will touch an out of form QB who has been out of the league for 7 years. It’s over.

  63. onereasonableman says:
    Apr 26, 2016 6:42 AM
    I respect him trying. It takes a lot to humble oneself especially in this day and age in which everything has the chance to go viral.

    I hope he does get some shot, even if minor.

    Just don’t give up when everyone is saying no. Keep grinding.

    If he really wants to be humble then he could get on with his life and realize that his next job is not going to pay him millions of dollars a year.

    Stop being the MC Hammer of football

  64. I’ve done some hiring and firing in my life and sometimes picking someone from the bottom of a heap of resumes is a good move. Pride and hustle and a chip on a shoulder can beat a pedigree.

  65. No he is not broke. In addition, LSU boosters would gladly finance any business venture for him.

  66. He sees another fat worthless bust like Trent Richardson getting paid $600k to flop out of camp and wants the same opportunity. That is all this is about

  67. Let me help you with some math
    Drug problem + Poor Work Ethic + Hasn’t Played in the NFL in Years = NO CHANCE IN HELL
    JR – how can you be so ignorant to think any team would want you within 100 yards of their current players. It’s not just about giving you another shot, it’s the possibility of your bad past moves rubbing off on one of their current players. There is NO WAY they’d let you in the building…NONE! Good luck to you, but the ONLY way you’ll be at an NFL game is with a ticket…just like us.
    It’s pathetic to see that YOU can’t see it’s OVER.

  68. Sadly, Johnny Football will be given multiple chances as his slow-speed chase of an NFL career comes crashing down right before our eyes. But JaMarcus won’t be afforded that same opportunity.

    He should have taken his skills to the CFL or Arena league long ago. I’d like to see him get another opportunity. Heck, Ryan Leaf had stints with Dallas and Tampa Bay after flaming out in SD!

    After all, Russell was the number 1 pick in the draft! He can at least qualify to be a clipboard holder like so many others. If the league gives druggies, domestic violators and deflators a chance, why not this dude?

  69. Guessing most teams will file his letter together t=with their annual letter from Jeff George.

    Thing is, would it really hurt if he was given a look see? Yes he has been out of the League for years, but with 32 teams struggling to find 32 QBs that can actually play the game, perhaps a humbled Russell would actually be good for a team. People mature at different times, and it isn’t as though Russell ran a dog fighting ring, or has multiple DUIs, or threw his girlfriend onto a pile of assault weaponry!

    I hope he gets to at least have a workout – even if in secret – so that he can be an insparation to players everywhere who want to chase their dream, or at least chase redemption.

  70. Dood! Missing a great opportunity! N.F.L.C.F.L. those aren’t the letters you’re looking for. Yu need to find W.W.E.! Call yaself “the Bust” ya finishing move can be the Washout!

  71. This was a misprint, what he actually did was write to every team asking them if they had “free donuts”.

  72. Everyone knows he’s the poster boy for QB busts BUT I don’t see why he can’t be a “camp body”. Teams bring QB’s to training camp all the time so starters/main back up don’t get overworked and most times those guys have nO shot to make the squard so if there’s something keep him around if not send him home-no big deal

  73. This has to be some sort of joke.

    Apparently, all the fast food joints in Baton Rouge rejected his applications.

  74. IIRC JaMarcus is the same QB that once overthrew a RB on a five-yard screen pass and once considered a 40% completion rate a good game. Let’s not forget that “iced out” jersey necklace he wore for a bit.

    Considering how much he fleeced out of my Raiders, he should be playing for free if he gets another chance.

  75. Who can you compare JR to?

    Manziel? No

    Leaf? No

    Jeff George? No

    Ryan Lindley? No

    Jake Locker? No

    Trevor Siemian? No

    Jimmy Clausen? No

    The folks that say he’s done, that he should be a mentor, what can he say that cannot be said in 30 seconds?

    And: ‘Of the 68MM contract of which 32MM guaranteed, he has a net worth of 2MM’, where did you see this information?

  76. He could be the next spokesman for Golden Corral. Or make broadcasts more interesting, fire Joe Buck or Kenny Albert and have Mushmouth Russell in the booth?

  77. Sign him for league minimum as a fullback. At least he can run over people on the goal line. Why not? And he can also be the #3 QB (emergency) on the team. You could do a lot worse…

  78. …and just think, this could have worked if not for the fact all 32 letters were smeared with barbecue sauce and purple drank. 🙁

  79. 96.875% of his mistake was writing
    “I would sincerely like an opportunity
    to come to Dallas and meet with you”
    in all 32 of the letters…

  80. I wonder if JaMarcus ever noticed how Peyton Manning and Drew Brees always are on the sidelines studying opponents’ defenses when their defense is on the field? That’s what separate the great ones along with their talent and hard work.

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