Jeff Garcia Says JaMarcus Russell has Lost 30 Pounds in Three Months as the Two Former Raiders Train TogetherApril 9, 2013 – 7:10 am by Brad Gagnon
JaMarcus Russell continues to train under the tutelage of former teammate and NFL starter Jeff Garcia as one of the biggest busts in NFL history attempts to revive his reputation and resume his pro football career. But while you’d expect Garcia to stick up for Russell in trying to sell his protege, he won’t deny the fact that the former No. 1 overall pick has a lot of work to do.
Jeff Garcia joined Scott and BR on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego to discuss the process of training JaMarcus Russell as he tries to get back to the NFL. He touched on Russell’s lack of work ethic when they were on the Oakland roster together in 2009, what’s pushing Russell to try to return to pro football, Russell’s weight loss and ideal fits for him if he does return. He also gave his take on Mark Sanchez, who has also come under the Garcia wing.
On what he observed from Russell when they were in training camp together in 2009:
“I could see that he just didn’t have that fire. It was one of those things where he was one of those guys who was always put on a pedestal, and he was the guy who was the very talented, very gifted individual. He was bigger than everybody else, always been that big-fish-in-a-small-pond type of scenario. And now all of a sudden, hey, a lot of other big fish around you. Everybody’s trying to win that battle for that meal. You have to have a certain special something about you in order to survive at the highest, at the most elite of games. And unfortunately for him, he didn’t have the surrounding … people that could help him understand or see that. And he didn’t have that personal drive from within himself. And I think that’s why he had the shortness of the career that he has had. But the guy does have some tremendous tools, tremendous abilities. Obviously he wouldn’t have been the first player taken in the draft if he didn’t have those type of tools, that type of potential. Now it’s really an understanding for him, how it feels to be on the outside looking in, and what it is going to take to get back on the inside. And whether he’ll even have that opportunity, who knows? But I will say this: Over the past two months, now that he’s been out here in San Diego, he’s been training with our group, he’s been with us on the field, his personality, his worth ethic, his drive, his commitment is so much better than what I ever saw with him in Oakland in 2009.”
On whether finances are motivating this comeback effort for Russell:
“It can’t be about the money. And yes, unfortunately he probably is in a position where he doesn’t have what he had back a few years ago from a financial standpoint. Yes, people look at him as one of the all-time busts for a first pick in the draft. I mean, all of those things have to really be motivating factors. More than anything else, though, it’s gotta come back to — how bad do you truly want it? How much does this game mean to you? How much do you miss playing this game? And if it means that much to you, then you’re gonna do everything within your realm to turn your life around, to turn yourself around and to prove to people that if they give you a chance, if they give you a shot, that you’re gonna prove to them that you’re worth taking the chance on.”
On the weight Russell has lost since they began training together:
“He came with us three months ago and he weighed 312 pounds. Today, he’s about to break into the 270 mark. So, literally, he’s down 30 pounds.”
On the type of team Russell would fit with at this point:
“It’s not a fit for him to go into a position right now and be expected to compete for a starting job. He needs a situation like a San Diego Charger situation, where you have a Philip Rivers, a guy who is in the prime of his career who could actually help JaMarcus continue to grow.”
On also working with Mark Sanchez:
“I think he’s very motivated. I think he’s very encouraged and excited about Marty Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator who’s come in there who’s had some great success in Philadelphia. … And I think that’s where Mark and I really connected is the fact that I’ve had Marty as a coach, I understand the west-coast offense. I’m somebody that can spend some time with him, I can interpret and speak the language and help him get a head start before he goes into their offseason program. … What we’ve been able to do in the month that we’ve spent together is just get him sharper, get him thinking about the technique of just the delivery of the football, getting things out on time, trusting your decision, being fast with your decision, understanding how to interpret the offense and make it happen in a positive way.”