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Raiders Claim JaMarcus Russell Is 'Getting in Shape'

Mar 16, 2010 – 8:00 PM
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Chris Harry

Chris Harry %BloggerTitle%

JaMarcus RussellJaMarcus Russell is a changed man, both physically and mentally. That's what the Oakland Raiders are saying about their franchise quarterback and No. 1 overall draft pick who, through three seasons, has been a monumental bust-a-rama.

"You'll be surprised when you see him," director of squad development Willie Brown said Monday on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "I don't want to pin it down and say how much he lost, but it will be a significant difference when you see him compared to last year."

In Oakland, they'll just have to take Brown's word. That's because Russell was a no-show for the start of the team's offseason workouts Monday. Brown said the QB was in Atlanta taking care of some personal business, but, to date, has spent the offseason working out in Phoenix.

"The most important thing is he's getting in shape," Brown said.

Guess improving upon that league-worst 50.0 passer rating last season is a close second.

As it stands, Russell has no promises relative to the starting job; he merely figures into the competition. Despite the $61 million contract (that came with $32 million in guarantees), Russell will open the offseason -- whenever he shows -- on equal footing with accomplished stalwarts Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye.

Russell, who is due $9.5 million in '09, threw three TDs and 11 interceptions last season.
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