OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03: JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Two months ago, I wrote that it's unlikely the Bears would give a serious look to washed-up quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Today, I have to eat my words, as the Bears are reportedly giving Russell a tryout on Friday.
Russell was the first-round overall pick by the Raiders in 2007. He was a disaster there as he gained tons of weight and was demoted from the starting quarterback job. On the list of the NFL's biggest busts, Russell's name is always prominent.
But he's making another effort to rejoin the NFL. He's been working with a quarterback coach and has reportedly shed 50 pounds to get down to his weight when he was drafted. He hasn't played football since 2009, so it's hard to say what the Bears' staff will see on Friday.
The Bears can't afford to carry a quarterback just to see if he works out. Cutler has missed games in the last three seasons because of injury, so a back-up quarterback isn't only a last resort. It's important for Cutler to have a real-back-up who can not only step in if needed, but also know every bit of the Bears' offense.
We will see if the Russell who shows up Friday is better than the one who last traipsed on the football field.