JaMarcus Russell made a big splash as LSU quarterback from 2004 to 2006. And then — selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft — barely a ripple.
Russell lasted only three unproductive seasons for the Oakland Raiders, starting 25 games, tossing 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions and collecting $36.4 million of the six-year, $68 million contract he signed.
“Who’s to say? You might see me back,” Russell, 30, tells Sports Illustrated in a profile posted Tuesday at the Sports Illustrated website as part of the “SI Films” series.
Despite the smile, he’s not kidding.
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The profile reveals Russell has been writing letters to NFL teams hoping someone will give him a shot.
In one such letter, he tells the Cowboys he has no notions of a huge salary or starting position:
“I am willing to lead the scout team for free for one year just to get experience in your system,” he says in the letter. “I want to learn the playbook, sit under the proper tutelage and learn from your coaching staff. After that time, if you see fit to allow me to stay with the Cowboys organization, I would be eternally grateful.”
Russell was 25-4 as a starter for the Tigers in he mid-2000s. In 2006, he completed 232 of 342 passes for 3,129 yards and 28 touchdowns, leading the Tigers to an 11-2 record, a 41-14 win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, and the No. 3 spot in both the final AP and coaches rankings.