Multiple media outlets have reported that on Friday, the Chicago Bears will workout four quarterbacks at Halas Hall. One of those signal-callers is the first overall pick from the 2007 NFL Draft, JaMarcus Russell. Russell has been out of the NFL since 2009 and rightly earned the “bust” label after three miserable seasons in Oakland.
Russell wasn’t just bad in Oakland, he was far beyond that. He’s been called the worst draft bust of all-time, won just seven games in three seasons, threw 23 interceptions, and accumulated a 65.2 quarterback rating. He also ballooned to more than 300 pounds after being released by Oakland and got into some off-the-field issues involving Codeine in 2010.
Now, it appears Russell has righted himself and is attempting a comeback. He’s dropped down to 265 pounds – which was his weight when Oakland drafted him – and hasn’t had any legal issues of note since his 2010 run-in. His talent and apparent willingness to work hard – something he wouldn’t do during his time in Oakland – has allowed him to earn a tryout with the Bears.
Bears fans haven’t accepted the news with open arms, as many have expressed displeasure with the decision on social media, talk radio, and in other ways fans like to complain aimlessly.
Here’s a newsflash, folks: this move doesn’t even matter.
All NFL teams bring at least four quarterbacks to training camp, and if the Bears ultimately decide to bring in Russell, another retread quarterback, or an undrafted free agent, it’s not a big deal. His role would be that of a deep backup from day one at Bourbonnais. It’s almost as if people think the Bears are trying out four quarterbacks to steal Jay Cutler’s job, when in reality, whoever they bring in isn’t even going to challenge Josh McCown for his job as the team’s backup.
Is there a chance Russell can actually make the team? Of course. The Bears could easily make room for him on the depth chart by sliding Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Matt Blanchard to the practice squad for a second season if Russell impresses enough in training camp and during preseason games. That’s if he even does well enough to earn a contract.
Even if that happens, the only time we’d see Russell on the field in a meaningful situation for the Bears would be if Cutler and McCown are both injured or terrible. At that point, the season would be over anyways, so the team might as well give a former No. 1 overall pick a shot to see if he can do something.
So, fellow Bears fans, if we’re going to get worked up, let’s do that over something that matters a bit more.