By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
2:35 PM EDT, June 10, 2013
The Ravens have been linked in reports to former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell for a potential tryout as he attempts to resurrect his NFL career.
During his tryout for the Chicago Bears last week, Russell told unspecified people that he's going to try out for the Ravens, according to ESPN.
However, league sources told The Baltimore Sun that no workout is currently scheduled between Russell and the Super Bowl champions.
Russell was a bust with the Raiders after being drafted with the top overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft due to conditioning and maturity issues as well as a lengthy contract holdout, but his trainer said in a telephone interview that the former LSU star has been diligently applying himself to get another shot in the NFL.
Brian Martin, the founder of T.E.S.T. Football Academy, has been training Russell for three months and says he's down to 267 pounds from a high of 315 pounds when he began working with him. Russell's quarterbacks coach for this comeback attempt is former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia.
"It's been a process, and JaMarcus has worked incredibly hard and hasn't missed any workouts," Martin said in a telephone interview. "He's been working out two or three times per day throwing with Jeff Garcia. We've spent a lot of time with him on nutrition. He looks like a new person at 265 pounds. He can still sling it, but he's so much leaner and more efficient in his movements."
In three seasons with the Raiders, Russell completed 52.1 percent of his throws for 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions for a lackluster 65.2 quarterback rating.
Martin raved about the Mobile, Ala., native's arm strength, comparing it favorably to Ravens Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback Joe Flacco.
"His arm strength is incredible," Martin said. "He's right there with Joe's arm strength as far as being able to get it down the field. He's got great touch. He spins it well consistently and he's accurate."
The Ravens are happy with backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, an athletic former Virginia Tech standout. And they have former Bears and Denver Broncos quarterback Caleb Hanie in place as their third quarterback.
Even if the Ravens do ultimately work out Russell, it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll sign him to a contract. The Bears are reportedly not planning to sign Russell despite a solid workout.
When asked about the Ravens as a potential landing spot for Russell to kickstart his career, Martin was upbeat about the fit.
"I think it's a good spot for him as a potential opportunity and Baltimore has come up in some conversations," Martin said. "He's OK with being a backup. He wants to come in and learn. The Arizona Cardinals were interested before they picked up Carson Palmer. JaMarcus, if he continues to walk the line and gets in the right system with a great support structure, Baltimore would be a great place for him.
"He has some similar skill sets to Joe, but he doesn't move around quite as well as Joe does. He could come in and learn from Joe and he would be the perfect mentor. Joe is unflappable. I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem working with JaMarcus."