The story of former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell is not a happy one. Selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft after starring at LSU, Russell battled poor play and weight issues in his three years with the Raiders, before being benched and ultimately released ahead of the 2010 season.
Russell is a big dude, and his combination of size and killer arm strength had scouts drooling after the NFL Combine. But his turnovers and reluctance to stay in shape ultimately caused his downfall. In 2013, he attempted to come back, working out for a few teams but ultimately getting no offers.
Because of his college career and where he was taken in the draft, the word "bust" is forever associated with Russell's name. But that hasn't stopped him from continually trying to redeem himself.
In a video for Sports Illustrated that documents Russell's life five years removed from the NFL, a couple of things stand out. First, above all, Russell seems genuinely happy. He's coaching youth football, spending time with his family and appears to be at peace with his NFL career. Second, though, is that he hasn't fully let go of the game. He sent letters to all 32 NFL franchises saying that he'd try out and play for them with no compensation whatsoever.
"You might see me back," Russell says with smile toward the end of the video. "You never know. Whatever it is. I could be the water boy. Work my way onto the scout team, it doesn't matter. I'll go play for free."
The whole video is absolutely worth a watch, as it gives an in-depth look at the life of one of the many highly hyped college prospects who didn't pan out once they hit the NFL.
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