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It’s Russell’s choice to be mentored

Tom Cable wasn’t afraid to use the term, and in fact he encouraged it.

Jeff Garcia was brought in to be a mentor to JaMarcus Russell, and not just a backup quarterback.

You have a mental image of the two poring over film together, utilizing salt and pepper shakers, and forks and knives as imaginary backfields at lunch when the team convenes at this week’s organized team activity.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Down deep, Garcia still wants to start. Russell realizes this, and a part of him may want to keep Garcia at arm’s length.

It’s a fact that young players don’t always want to be mentored, and that veteran players don’t always want to be mentors.

Look no further than the 2004 season, when the Raiders parted ways with two of the most productive wide receivers in NFL history, neither of whom were enamored with the thought of being a mentor.

When Norv Turner took over for Bill Callahan in 2004, it became obvious during training camp that Ronald Curry had to play. With the blessing of Al Davis, Turner gave Tim Brown a choice _ stick around as the fifth receiver and occasionally be inactive on game day, or accept his release.

Brown took the latter and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he essentially met the same fate.

During the season, Rice began coming out in certain formations and saw his production dwindle. On Sept. 19, Rice failed to catch a pass against Buffalo, snapping an NFL-record 274-game streak of games played with a reception.

Like Brown, Rice wanted no part of a smaller role and helping bring along players who were going to play more than he was. Davis later confirmed that Rice came to him to complain about the end of the streak and request a trade, which was eventually granted.

Not that the Raiders young receivers were all that interested about acquiring more knowledge, anyway. I remember one day in the Raiders locker room when Rice was out catching extra passes while Curry, Doug Gabriel and others were talking in the locker room.

Within earshot, and without being asked a question, Rich Gannon called over a few media members and wondered aloud how it is the Raiders could have the most productive receiver in NFL history and that the team’s young receivers weren’t out watching him.

“I mean, why wouldn’t you follow him around every moment, seeing how he does it?,” Gannon said.

Then there was Charles Woodson, who was afforded the opportunity as a rookie to play alongside Eric Allen, a veteran with an entire black book of strategies on every wide receiver he had ever faced.

Allen and Woodson were close friends. Allen used to joke his kids’ favorite player was C-Wood. He waited for Woodson to ask about the black book and how to play receivers, but the time never came.

I asked Woodson about it and he said he wasn’t comfortable loading up on information. He said he played better with a “blank slate” which allowed him to react and rely on his natural ability.

Contrast that with Nnamdi Asomugha, who as a rookie in 2003 immediately approached safety Rod Woodson and asked, “What do you have for me?.”

The point is, there is no guarantee Russell and Garcia will evolve into a mentor-student relationship. Which doesn’t mean Russell can’t learn simply from being pushed by him in practice and meeting rooms every day. On that basis alone, not to mention attrition at the quarterback position, Garcia’s signing was a good one.

The bulk of the knowledge Russell acquires won’t be from Garcia, but quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett.

“(Russell) has got a tremendous quarterbacks coach. No one talks about the addition of Paul Hackett,” Jon Gruden told Sirius Satellite Radio last week. “I think he’s really going to reach out and help JaMarcus Russell.”

The process continues this week, with Wednesday’s session open to the media.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://cosmicdanceband.com Silver-n-Black666

    Yeah I listen to Koko and there is an Elvis connection as she wrote the song Hound Dog that Elvis made big.

    Yeah Dell I was banned for a week 4 calling jerry lazy and had to use my Elvis moniker to post.

    I am back now and I know the two things that will get you banned so I will stay away from those comments.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    lol, run block, not black..Karma is a biotch.

  • CJ Legend 34

    *******NFL Mentoring, Bull, what a joke!!!******
    ******Here is some real mentoring-watch video clip****

    You know this whole mentoring thing is based off of perception. Who is to say there were not guys who learned from Jerry Rice just because one day they were in the locker room and he was out in the field or Tim Brown or Eric Allen for that matter? Gannon was a good QB but he seemed like a real pain in the butt!! I have been mentored by guys on the job who lots of times have not even known it. You just observe what they do and how they do it. You ask them some questions every once in a while but you still have to do the job. Most of these NFL guys have really been getting mentored since they played pony football in elementary school. As grown men they may not want to come out and say, “hey pal can I buddy up with you.” That does not mean they don’t respect the veteran. They just have a method that has worked for them as well, which has got them a certain amount of success.

    Now as far as JAM goes his game will speak volumes for him. I get tired of people calling the guy lazy and going off on some pictures he has partying. He is young and rich, what do you expect? Ton Brady, Matt Lienart, Eli Manning all have party pictures. Why aren’t they being called lazy? Marino liked to party it up as well in college and after. He never won a Superbowl. Is he lazy? By the way do you all recall who Garcia married? Now does Garcia like to party or what? If there is anyone you should be worried about partying after moving back to the Bay area I would look out for Garcia (how quickly we forget).

    Just because the Raiders went out and got Garcia does not mean JAM has to buddy up with him every day of the week. He may like to get some pointers from him but at the end of the day he knows football is a competitive sport and guess what? Garcia wants his job!!!! Don’t listen to all that bull about wanting him to succeed so bad that he will take the splinters for JAM. Garcia is a competitor first he wants the job. How many of you would buddy up with a guy trying to take your job? You may take some pointers from the guys style or his craft but he will never truly be your mentor and buddy. Most of these guys including Rice, Brown and Gannon have the biggest egos on the planet. Just because a guy is great does not mean he is great to be around every day.

    I will never forget when Deion Sanders said Andre Rison was like a buddy to him and he mentored him and loved him. Deion may have went as far as saying that Rison was like a son or little brother. When Deion left Atlanta to SF he came back and gave Rison a left hook and they started going at it. Now that is real mentor love! Check out the video clip. Here is some real mentoring!

    http://www.extremesportclips.com/video/1450/Deion-versus-Rison.html

    Stop the NFL buddy bull please!!!!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Karma is great!

  • OAKlifer

    Man I have to work tooo MUCH !!!! whats up nation???? but I can type black pretty well at work so its cool!!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    OAK,

    lol

    What do you do sir, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • OAKlifer

    ohhh this and that!!!

    I work in a huge office for a company that sells alot of high-end things….paintings and such……
    Mostly Client service type of stuff managing accounts and orders….

  • http://atm Raider O

    New post guys!!

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Karma is a bunch of BS! What a crock o’ schit and the people who believe in it are fruit-cakes that…hey, oh schit! I gotta go, my office is on fire!

  • OAKlifer

    LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/pgStory?contentId=9662368#sport=News&photo=9662352

    I always knew he was a little weird!!! But this is outlandish and will cause a horrible break up lets look at some other NFL relationships…..

    Jeff Garcia & T.O – we all know how that ended up Owens didnt want to date anymore and started calling garcia g@y when he (Garcia) started dating a supermodel.

    Then there was T.O. & Romo – A bit of the same story Owens hates his BF’s to start dating blondes wit bog tattas!!!!

    Then the rumored Mcnabb & T.O. not sure if Mcnabb bats for the other team but Owens also got pretty mad at him real quick like….Man T.O. really gets around..Hope Trent likes the ladies!!!

    Then of course how can we forget the famous Eli Manning & A.J. Smith…..As soon as Surgar Daddy Smith Said the well was drying up they couldnt date any more if the Chargless where to draft him and Eli Stood up for his lover and demanded he would not play for the dis-chargers…which I think created some tension…they may be on the rocks reports out of NY where Mark “dirty” Sanchez was spotted buyng Eli his Favorite Mocha from Pink on the top Coffe on the Bottom on of NY’s premier G@y coffe shops…..

    i’m just saying you shouldn’t date co-workers!!!!

  • newbetterbucs07

    Russell needs to get his act together and really work hard. He has a lot of potentail and needs to put it to use.

    Want a place to talk football? Check out http://www.thegridironpalace.com/forums

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