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Former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell is looking for a second chance in the NFL and the Ravens may or may not be interested in granting him one.
Reports from USA Today and NFL Network have said the Ravens are potentially interested in the former Oakland Raiders quarterback, who has been out of the league since the 2010 offseason. Russell will work out for the Chicago Bears this week after a three-year absence from the NFL and has reportedly lost upwards of 50 pounds in his quest to revive his football career.
A conflicting report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said the Ravens are not interested in Russell.
Tyrod Taylor has served as the Ravens’ backup quarterback for the last two seasons as Baltimore has carried only two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster in each of the last three years. If general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh are looking to upgrade the backup spot — they’ve repeatedly said they’re happy with Taylor as their backup — Russell would appear to be a puzzling candidate considering the overwhelming failure he experienced in his brief NFL career.
The Ravens have sent a clear message the last two seasons of not investing much in a backup quarterback with the thought that a long-term injury to starter Joe Flacco would likely mean the end of their championship hopes anyway. It also wouldn’t make much sense to carry a third quarterback since the Ravens have allocated that roster spot elsewhere to have more flexibility at other positions.
Former Bears and Broncos backup Caleb Hanie was signed earlier this offseason for preseason depth and to serve as a potential No. 3 quarterback.
Taken with the first overall pick of the 2007 draft, Russell threw for 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, and 4,083 yards in three seasons with the Raiders. However, poor play and conditioning concerns led to his release in the spring of 2010 despite the Raiders having signed him to a six-year, $68 million contract that included $31.5 million in guaranteed money three years earlier.
Russell was arrested in July 2010 for codeine syrup possession. Later that year, he received several tryouts for a potential backup quarterback job but was never signed.