Daily Buzz: Understanding JaMarcus Russell; The U.S. vs Lance Armstrong and challenging Bryce Harper

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JaMarcus Russell as an NFL quarterback was decried for lack of effort, specifically his playing weight. His talent was decried due to the interceptions, but in reality three seasons on a bad Oakland Raiders team is probably not the best measurement of a man or a quarterback.

An arrest for a kool-aid/codeine mixture also forever tainted his public reputation.

But if Russell is mostly criticized as the NFL’s biggest draft bust, he may be one of the most mislabeled, as Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wortheim Sports Illustrated writes:

Russell fills part of his days as a youth football coach in Mobile, pacing around with more energy and animation and conviction than he often showed as an NFL quarterback. He doesn’t spend much time on-line but he’s aware of his reputation. He knows that with each NFL draft, his name is trotted out as a cautionary tale. And this triggers a deep laugh. He doesn’t want the world’s ridicule; but he doesn’t want the world’s sympathy either. No injuries. No head trauma. No financial stresses. None of the unhappiness and complications that came from fame he never wanted. “What,” he asks himself, “do I have to be unhappy about?”

Well the bust label actually did catch up with Russell and he played his last down of NFL football over six years ago in January of 2010 as a member of the Oakland Raiders.

The 30-year-old Russell made waves this week as it was found out that he sent a letter to each of the NFL’s 32 teams (too many right?) last year asking for just a shot.

He even went as far as saying he would play for free.

“God makes things happen for a reason,” Russell told  Sports Illustrated. “Who’s to say? You might see me back. You never know, man. You never know. … Whatever it is — I can be a water boy and work my way into a scout team. It doesn’t matter. I’ll go play for free.”

Russell may not get another shot just because that’s how the NFL’s ultra ironic somewhat hypocritical player machine works. A label will get you a long way, for better or worse.

-The U.S. Government is seeking to recover the nearly $33 million the United States Postal Service paid Lance Armstrong as his sponsor from 2000 to 2004.

-The expanded netting around first and third base in MLB stadiums appear to be working, at least in the case of a broken bat last night in Washington D.C.  Via USA TODAY

-Nationals Manager Dusty Baker thinks most smart opposing pitchers will try and pitch around Bryce Harper who is off to a nice start with nine home runs 24 RBI and a .318 batting average. But Baker points out, as he saw with Hank Aaron, there will always be some youngsters who want to try and challenge harper to their detriment.

“A lot of pitchers don’t like running from you. Some of these guys have never run from anybody … and they still like the challenge of facing the best,” Baker said via the USA Today.

“I saw it with Hank Aaron. They had him set up with an inside fastball because they just wanted to break his bat so they could go and call their father and tell them they broke Hank Aaron’s bat,” Baker said.

“You ever watch cowboy movies or Jesse James and all them dudes? All those young dudes that tried to kill? I’m serious. It’s the same, it hasn’t changed,” Baker said.

“There’s always a gun-fighter that figures he can enhance his reputation by getting Bryce out or whoever the best is. There are gonna be some young fools out there that try.”