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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Jets show interest in JaMarcus Russell


I wonder if it would be too late for JaMarcus Russell to get in on that weight-loss contest with Rex Ryan, Kris Jenkins and Damien Woody.

ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini reports the New York Jets have taken a cursory look at signing Russell as a backup quarterback. The Oakland Raiders made Russell the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, but cut him last month.

He was as bloated as his contract, reportedly puffing up to around 300 pounds. The Raiders will have paid him $39 million for 25 starts and seven wins.

Cimini also notes the Jets remain interested in signing veteran Mark Brunell to be Mark Sanchez's backup, but they must wait until late July because of the "Final Eight" plan for the uncapped season. The Jets could sign Russell immediately because he was cut by another team.

Primary backup Kellen Clemens almost certainly will be cut at some point, and the Jets don't have much invested in their other backup quarterbacks. Neither Erik Ainge nor Kevin O'Connell have asserted themselves as anything special.

It would be fascinating if the Jets cleaned house and took a flier on Russell as their third quarterback.

Ryan has a source with intimate knowledge of Russell. Ryan's twin brother, Rob Ryan, was the Raiders' defensive coordinator for Russell's first two NFL seasons.

When I was at the Jets' minicamp a couple weeks ago, I asked Rex Ryan how he and his brother discuss players. Rob Ryan now is the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator and advised Rex to sign former Browns safety Brodney Pool.

"We'll always be honest about a guy," Rex Ryan said. "It will always be like that. I'd much rather have a player that I feel good about go play for my brother than play for someone else. I think he feels the same way.

"If he cares about a player, he'd rather him come here and play for me than go somewhere else because he knows we'll take care of those guys. We're twins. He cares about his players and I care about ours. We always want those guys to be successful even when they leave you."