Former Oakland Raiders No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell was one of 20 players who worked out for the Washington Redskins on Tuesday. Perhaps coach Mike Shanahan thought an appearance by Russell on campus might distract from the controversy surrounding his benching of quarterback Donovan McNabb on Sunday.
Russell was released by the Raiders in May after an embarrassing three seasons. An Alabama grand jury decided not to indict Russell last week on a felony drug possession charge related to a drink containing codeine syrup found at his home, which might open the door for his return to the league.
I'd be really surprised, though, if the Skins signed him to their roster. Shanahan & Son were probably just checking to see how Russell's "cardiovascular endurance" was coming along after six months away from the game.
"I don't think you consider anyone just based off of talent," Kyle Shanahan said after the workout. "Everyone in the NFL's pretty talented. [It's] other stuff that really separates you. He is very talented, so I think he can overcome some of the stuff that he struggled with. I don't really know that personally, but if he looks like he's in good shape out here and he's working, and that's all you can evaluate. Sometimes when guys do get a second opportunity, they can change their stripes."
The Skins' offensive coordinator said Tuesday that McNabb had been hampered by bad hamstrings recently and had been warned that he might be pulled from Sunday's game. McNabb simply said, "Coach makes the decisions" when he was asked today about his benching.
Mike Shanahan will give his players five days off before bringing them back next Monday.