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The Aussie Audible, weekly thoughts from USSDU's editor Dominic.
It's been a fun week for NFL fans if you're the kind of guy who likes comeback stories or extraordinary longshots.
We were treated to both in the tales of the supposed return of JaMarcus Russell and the news that the NFL is dead-set on getting an NFL team in London.
Frankly, both are unbelievable, but then again crazier things have happened in this league.
Is JaMarcus back?
Despite his comeback having something of a rocky start (he was reportedly overweight and out of shape
in April), Russell has since worked out for the Chicago Bears (weighing in at 267 pounds on the day -- an acceptable weight). Although he didn't come away with a contract, it's still a positive step forward towards getting back into the NFL.
It's hard not to roll your eyes when the words 'JaMarcus' and 'comeback' are put in the same sentence, but his weight loss speaks for itself, and training with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia can only help.
Still, misinformation is rife, as the reports that two other teams (Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Raves) were interested in him have since been denied. It makes you wonder how many of these reports are being circulated by Russell's own camp to generate interest.
It's a pretty solid indication as to how desperate teams are to stay solid at quarterback. Had Russell played any other position it's doubtful he would have been about to mount his comeback. Take Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson for example, they've got the same character concerns but have actually produced at a Pro Bowl level. They're struggling to return to the NFL.
The way JaMarcus left the league was remarkable: constant battles with his weight, poor mechanics and worth ethic. I'm not sure he deserves another shot, but he's getting close to earning one so that's something, right?
It makes you think. If the Bears are willing to work out a physically talented quarterback with severe character concerns, why aren't they willing to do the same for another physically talented quarterback with absolutely zero character concerns in Tim Tebow? How low is Tebow's stock right now if JaMarcus Russell got a look before he did?
' Peter Schrager tries to explain this
, and quotes some league sources who say that character issues can be mitigated by a good organisation, and Russell's arm is simply much better than Tebows.
“Russell has two things you can’t teach that teams actually want — an incredible arm and great NFL size," the league source states. "Tim Tebow has neither.” Pretty damning for the Tebow camp.
I don't believe the rhetoric surrounding Russell's comeback as a story of redemption, second chances and the 'American Dream'.
I believe it's much more simple that that: JaMarcus Russell's bad hype has finally died down, Tim Tebow's has only hit the crescendo. Teams live in the now and have a very short memory, and right now JaMarcus Russell looks very very good.
As good as he did during the 2007 NFL Combine. You know, the combine that convinced almost everybody that he was worthy of a first overall pick.
Like I said, the NFL has a short memory.
Will an NFL franchise call London home?
The other longshot is the movement to get an NFL team in London. The topic resurfaced thanks to a report from CBS' Jason LaCanfora
, who wrote that there's a major push within the NFL to get a team 'across the pond'.
It's not completely crazy either. The NFL has a following in the UK, and the flight between London and the East Coast is no longer than the flight between the East Coast and the West. That's not to mention the money that could be made too. After all, it's not just about moving a team to London, it's about spreading the NFL brand across the globe. London would be an ideal first step in the NFL's nefarious plans of world domination.
La Canfora believes it's now only a matter of 'when' -- rather than 'if' -- regarding an NFL team in London. He makes another excellent point in his article: NFL owners are much more inclined to move a team than to create a brand new one. Having a team re-located, as Canfora puts it, is "much more appealing and will grow that overall pie (NFL revenue) exponentially for all, without adding any more mouths to feed."
NFL revenue is split evenly between the teams, so it's better to move a team to a more profitable market than add a completely new one. (Well, it's certainly better for the NFL owners, not for the fans who will inevitably lose their team.)
The Jaguars are the house favorite for the move, as they have had trouble selling tickets in the past and are only part of a small market. (However, CBS' Pete Prisco makes an interesting argument
for Tampa Bay to make the move, highlighting how its crowd figures were significantly lower than Jacksonville's in 2012.)
If they did they would have to change the name, hopefully something like the London Redcoats, so they can strike up a heated rivalry with the Patriots.
Tight end Hayden Smith's nickname with the Jet's is "Aussie"
. That's terrific.
The fact that the NFLPA and 'Roc Nation', Jay-Z's agency, are meeting
is kind of a big deal. Roc Nation made waves when they nabbed Jets QB Geno Smith late April. There's some issue with how they operate, it'll be interesting to see how things shake out.
Michael Vick is doing himself zero favors by insisting that Chip Kelly name the Eagles' starter at QB before camp. Unsurprisingly he's being killed for it
Now Chad Johnson wants to make a comeback too? Child please...
Terrell Owens has stated he'll retire if he cannot find an NFL team by the start of the season. There's some division but he could be in Canton as early as 2016 if so.
I'm disappointed that Cleveland's Josh Gordon is going to be suspended for two games
for substance abuse. He was in line for a breakout year. He claims it was codeine in strep throat medicine.
RG3 needs to stop making promises regarding his knee. Everybody expected a return for Week 1. Why not surprise them with an earlier return rather than set up an expectation for it?
Surprise surprise, more news that Jay Cutler is kind of a diva
It's very interesting to see the reports of Alex Smith lighting it up during Chiefs OTAs
. There's all kinds of buzz around this team, some even suggest they could challenge for the AFC West. We'll see.
ESPN.com have been getting into the meat of their Greatest Coaches in NFL History
, it's a great series and a solid history lesson for young fans.
The Baltimore Ravens got their rings, as expected, they're pretty extravagant
Previously on USSDU-NFL (Editor's Choice)
I enjoyed the hell out of James Hunter-Smith's article on how the Jaguars are rebuilding
Our new contributor Josh Wye flew out the gate with this big breakdown of fantasy sleeper picks
More excellence from Jared Watkins as he outlines some big-name prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft
-- it's never too early!
Chris did a terrific job sharing his NFL experience in Seattle
with us in his latest piece.
Dominic is USSDU’s beleaguered Head Editor. You can read his work here. Follow Dominic on Twitter @AussieAudible.