The more I reflect on JaMarcus Russell's entire college career and his time in Oakland, I start to see a picture of an extremely talented kid who should've taken the team on his shoulders at LSU and won a couple of national championships with all of the talent he had, considering Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet were two of his receivers and the rest of the team was loaded.
His time in Oakland was difficult from the contract issues, his immediate weight gain, and a known poor work ethic. Yes, he studied in the offseason and did work, he just chose not to do the extra work and it showed once he reached the NFL because he didn't immediately succeed like he did in college because of his arm strength and raw skills.
Russell's problem has never been athletic ability, potential, or almost any other aspect you'd expect out of your QB. Unfortunately the most important, like the Tin Man from the Wizard of the Oz, Russell didn't have the heart to take the team on his shoulders and lead the team.
That was asking too much of him. Russell has never played the role of true leader. Maybe in high school when his skills were better than anyone he ever played in high school, but not since.
With all of the money and all of the free time Russell had, you would assume he would stay in shape and be a football junkie like Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez. Again, Russell just didn't have the drive to be the most successful player on the team.
Russell not wanting to be the best player on the team wasn't out of line for him. In fact, it was the normal pattern of his behavior since his days at LSU. When Russell started his rookie year, he should've been like a young Josh Freeman and taken the team on his back and assumed control, rather than being a bystander and just playing his role of QB.
Instead, Russell lost his team last year because he failed to be properly conditioned and prepared to play.
Ultimately, I believe JaMarcus Russell and the Tin Man are both in the same search of a heart, because until they get one, they'll never be what they should be.
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