Friday 7 May 2010

Is the 'Big Bust' Coming North?

Quite possibly the biggest NFL draft bust of the modern era could be headed to Hamilton. After being cut by the Oakland Raiders after three horrendously unproductive years, former #1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell has been added to the negotiation list of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Good God, no! While I understand that most players on a CFL team's neg lists never see the the Great White North, just the very idea that the "Big Bust" (my personal nickname for Russell) could possibly, at any time, become a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats just makes my stomach turn. Yes, he has amazing physical skills, but that doesn't make up for the one thing he seems to be lacking: heart.

By being taken first overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, Russell was handed a contract with almost $40 million in guarantees. For that $40 million the Raiders got exactly squat. Russell couldn't be bothered to dedicate himself to improving at his craft when he was making $40 million, so why would anyone believe, with $40 million already in the bank, that Russell would dedicate himself when he's making $50,000 or $150,000 or $250,000 playing for the Cats?

Russell had all the physical tools to dominate the NFL. He had the size of Daunte Culpepper and the arm of John Elway. Sure, he was surrounded by terrible players in Oakland, but it's the QB's job to make the team better.

It also doesn't help that Russell has no work ethic. He would show up to training camp drastically overweight and out of shape. He would, according to sources, spend next to no time studying tape. He just never gave his all to his profession. He enjoyed the fame that came along with being an NFL player, but he didn't want to put in the work to be a great NFL player.

It is extremely unlikely that JaMarcus Russell will ever play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. There is no way he'll take the pay cut, nor will he want to play in relative obscurity compared to the 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year hypefest that is the NFL.

Simply put, JaMarcus Russell plays football to make money. He does not love the game, nor is he willing to put in the effort to be good at the game. He has made his money and can now ride off into the sunset to be forgotten like so many others before him.

At least one person's happy. Thanks to Russell, Ryan Leaf is no longer considered the biggest draft bust in NFL history. I'm sure if Ryan Leaf could say thank you, he would. Now, JaMarcus, can you stay away from Hamilton, please? You could make more than just one person happy if you did that.

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