In case you missed it, Raiders director of squad development Willie Brown said on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Monday that quarterback JaMarcus Russell has undergone a transformation in the offseason and wasn’t present at the first day of the offseason program tending to personal business.
“He’s trying to close a home in Alabama. It’s something that he couldn’t get out of,” Brown said. “You don’t want to lose your home. So he’ll be back in town today and ready to go (Tuesday).”
Brown, talking with Raiders play-by-play announcer Greg Papa on “Chronicle Live,” alluded to personal problems Russell experienced last season and said the quarterback has been in Phoenix getting in shape, a long-running rumor neither the Raiders nor Russell’s agents would confirm.
“You’ll be surprised when you see him,” Brown said. “It’s quite a bit of weight that he’s lost . . . I don’t want to pin it down and say how much he lost but it will be a significant difference when you see him compared to last year.
“The most important thing is he’s getting in shape. Not only losing weight, but getting in shape. He’s watching his diet, he has special meals brought in that he’s eating, and we have one of the Raiders, a former player there with him to monitor him and make sure things are going fine. The weight thing, he’ll get it down. He’ll get it down.”
I’ve been told the former player assigned to Russell is Eddie Anderson, who joined the coaching staff in an unspecified capacity last season.
Although Brown told a camera crew he was retiring during one of the Tom Cable vigils at the club facility, he recently returned from a player development seminar in Dallas and sounds as if he will continue in that capacity.
“The most important thing about my job is to monitor the players and eliminate some problems for Tom,” Brown said.
A link to the interview can be found here.
Brown, who is named to Halls of Fame as often as John Wooden won NCAA championships, will be inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame on March 19. He said it was his ninth Hall of Fame.