"Calvin Johnson?"

The getty archives tell the story. From smiles and hugs on draft day to becoming the biggest bust in NFL history, JaMarcus Russell did it his own way. That way included not remembering his playbook and getting arrested for possession of codeine syrup –’Purple Drank’ to the connoisseurs — without a prescription.

Like most redemption stories, this one begins with a Russell acknowledging the error of his renegade ways. Shutdown Corner has quotes from the man himself. The most important questions directed at the former LSU star included seminal classics “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?”

“The last few years, the things going through my life, football is my job and it is how it feeds my family. People would say [that] I didn’t love the game but that pisses me off. People don’t know the real you but I want people to know the real me and see what I can do. People are always saying that I’m a bust. I want show them I’m not. I’m committed to this now.”

Russell is very serious about this. Along with Michael Clayton — a fellow LSU alum that didn’t live up to the hype after being selected 15th overall in the first round of the 2004 Draft — and life coach to the stars John Lucas, Russell has formed his version of the expendables.

In addition, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia (quarterback technique training), Olympian Ato Boldon (speed training and analysis), Dr. Robert Price of Elite Minds (mental and psychological analysis), former NFL wide receiver Quinn Early (disciplinary work and focus), former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner (reading defenses and classroom sessions) and NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk (reading defenses) will work as part of the team trying to reclaim the quarterback’s promise.

So many intriguing names. The most important person involved in the training at the TEST football academy will be Russell. The chances this works — and by work I don’t mean a starting gig in the NFL, that ain’t happening — are quite low. After his arrest in July 2010, JaMarcus visited with youth groups pushing the most important lesson for any youth growing up in these tumultuous times: don’t be like JaMarcus Russell.

Russell doesn’t want to be known as the biggest bust in NFL history. Who could blame him, nobody would relish that legacy. Here’s hoping JaMarcus makes the most of this opportunity. Reports state Russell is down to 308 pounds after weighing 320 in the fall. Progress!

And now the links part of the links post…

  • According to a San Franciso law enforcement source — totally credible — the sexual assault allegations against Michael Crabtree do not appear to be holding up. [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff has been charged with DWI after an incident early Tuesday morning. [ESPN Dallas]
  • Raiders are going to give Terrelle Pryor a chance to start in 2013. [Alex Marvez]
  • Marcus Lattimore, he of devastating leg injury fame, expected to be ready for the start of the 2013 NFL season. [PFT]
  • Buddy Nix wants to see Stevie Johnson play in the slot more next season. [Buffalo News]