Remember Jamarcus Russell at LSU? It’s hard to forget him. The 6-foot-5, 250 pound quarterback was all but unstoppable in the best conference in the nation. Herman Boone’s description fits Russell well: “Mobile. Agile. Hostile.”
Not only did he have the intimidating physique, he had the intangibles. He was a winner. Things like that are what scouts look at and what general managers in the NFL treasure, hence his No. 1 overall status. It was merited, no question, but it left much to be desired. After a two-year stint with the Oakland Raiders, he was released in May 2009. Four years later, he’s attempting a return, and the Tennessee Titans have reached out to him. Is this a silly stretch or possible diamond in the rough?
The question becomes, “Can he help?” With Jake Locker out for the next few weeks and Ryan Fitzpatrick serving as the interim quarterback, he could be of some service. But the key word is could. To be honest, it is still unsure if he would even come because of a knee injury he’s rehabbing, and his learning curve could be steep after being out of football for a few years. Still, he is down to 265 pounds, and reports are that his arm is still lively.
I still think it’s too much of a risk, especially if you take him on the payroll with your next two games against the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. Both games are probably losses, regardless of who is playing quarterback. Still, it’s an interesting move by a team that was on the major upswing before Locker went down with the hip injury.
The Titans are relevant again for the first time since quite possibly, the Music City Miracle and their near Super Bowl victory. Landing Russell would stir the pot and put them even more so in the headlines, which owner Bud Ford doesn’t mind doing from his kingdom in Texas.
The sad part for the Titans is that I don’t think Russell playing would do anything except put them in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. I like the idea of trying to save one or two games by getting a formidable quarterback, but I don’t like the execution or the person of choice.
Verdict: A kind gesture to reach out to him, but signing him is taking on a risk with little to no reward.