While JaMarcus Russell has done little, if anything, to deserve a benefit of the doubt, it’s not entirely fair to make an issue out of being absent for the first day of the offseason workout program.
The Chronicle reported Russell did not appear to be on site as other players arrived, which may well be true.
And while in terms of symbolism and his draft status that he show up on Day 1, chances are good a handful of others weren’t there either.
The offseason program runs through June, is voluntary, and isn’t a full-squad event.
Players are asked to appear a certain number of days, but can go as often as they wish and make up days they failed to attend.
It doesn’t become a problem unless Russell remains a no-show to the point where he can’t get in the requested amount of workouts and isn’t adhering to the wishes of the training staff.
Considering Russell’s performance last year, it’s easy to assume the worst and think maybe he’s not quite ready to step on a scale and that the unconfirmed reports of being in Arizona to train were either wishful thinking or exaggerations of the work he really put in.
It’s up to Russell to begin showing his teammates he’s ready to put in the time to be a starting quarterback, particularly when worker bees Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye are already on hand
But as of now, it’s just one day of a voluntary program, and it’s entirely possible Russell has a schedule with the club in place that didn’t include March 15.