Life Coach Gives Up On Former NFL #1 Pick JaMarcus Russell, Comeback Indefinite

By Randall Stevens  |  04/15/2011

JaMarcus RussellAfter being drafted with the #1 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders had high hopes for quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

But, the young player's potential never materialized. He was named the team's starting QB at the beginning of 2009, but was benched indefinitely following multiple lackluster performances ... and was eventually released in April 2010.

At the time, many didn't believe another team would give Russell another shot, due to a reputation for poor work habits.

Now, it seems his future in football may be totally finished, after his "life coach" John Lucas asked him to leave Houston recently and gave up on helping him return to the NFL.

According to Yahoo Sports!, Russell had been working with Lucas since September, in hopes to getting the 25-year-old QB into shape, so he could make his return. But, things didn't go as planned.

Sources said Russell took his training seriously, initially, but quickly lost motivation. Lucas -- who has made a career of helping athletes turn things around -- grew tired of trying to motivate the young player, to the point of frustration, and asked him to leave Houston where they had been training.

It seems no one can reach Russell, who had a ton of upside, initially, but didn't want to put in the work to become great.

"The title of your article should be, 'It's Over,' " a source who revealed the news said. "It's just amazing that you could say that about somebody who is 25 years old and just got drafted four years ago. But it's been almost a year since he got cut and there's no interest. Even before the lockout, nobody wanted to get near the kid."

According to Yahoo's report, Russell cemented his reputation for poor work ethics with two unimpressive showings at workouts with the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in November. Apparently, he showed up for the Redskins workout on November 2 weighing 288 pounds. Then, two weeks later, Russell showed up for the workout with the Dolphins weighing 292 pounds.

After being drafted into the league at #1 in 2007, Russell missed all of his rookie training camp, holding out in a contract dispute for more money. Eventually, he signed a six-year, $62 million contract including $31 million guaranteed money.

That was a big mistake for the Raiders.

"It's such a waste of talent," the source told Yahoo! "It's hard to believe a guy with that much ability could let it just waste. It's sad. ... It's like they say, you can't coach desire."