Here’s a quick trivia question for everyone: Who was an NFL quarterback that was taken with the first pick of the draft, played only three seasons and has found himself in trouble with the law for drugs?
If you guessed Ryan Leaf you weren’t far off. The only thing missing for Leaf to be the answer is that Leaf was not the first overall pick (He was picked second behind Peyton Manning in 1998). The answer is JaMarcus Russell who was drafted number one by the Raiders in 2007 and is known for his lack of success on the football field as a pro.
The main thing that Russell and Leaf have in common is that they may always be seen as the two biggest busts in NFL history. Expected to help their teams out of the cellar of the NFL, both set their franchises back years to the point where both the Raiders and Chargers are still trying to recover.
Russell has been relevant in today’s world of sports because he is attempting to make a comeback, and it was reported earlier today that the Jets are interested in bringing in the disgraced quarterback.
So this brings up the question that maybe I should have started with: Why would the Jets ever consider this?
It is evident that the Jets are exploring all options to replace Mark Sanchez as the team’s quarterback but this one is perplexing. A team that has turned into a circus and the joke of the NFL over the last two years should avoid bringing in Russell who has not played in a game since 2009. If they were to sign Russell even to the league minimum, it would solidify this team as the laughing stock of the NFL for sure.
One main reason to avoid Russell is the fact that his numbers during his short NFL career make Sanchez look like a Hall of Famer. From 2007-2009 with the Raiders, Russell threw 23 interceptions compared to 18 touchdowns. Over that span, he only completed 52.1 percent, which is three points lower than Sanchez’s and that is already bad enough.
To go along with the below average stats, Russell has proven that he is not the best character guy and that is the last thing that the Jets need to add to their locker room. In 2010, Russell was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance after being caught in an undercover sting for codeine syrup.
Oddly enough, the Jets had interest in Russell before his arrest but were quickly scared away afterwards.
The kicker for the Russell comeback is that he is currently over 300 pounds. If the Jets are going to bring him in, they should consider throwing him in at right tackle before they let him play quarterback.
No one is really sure how serious the Jets are about this as it was reported on Tuesday evening that the Jets only had very informal discussions about Russell and they now have no interest.
You never know what to expect from this team, but if new general manager John Idzik wants to keep the fans on his side, he should avoid bringing Russell in at all costs. He might have better success going to Montana and bailing Leaf out of state prison.
I don’t even think he was as big of a bust as JaMarcus Russell.
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Contributor – Dave Ragazzo – @DRagazzo_Sports