Tuesday was the second day of offseason workouts across the NFL, and when combined with the clock ticking toward the 2013 NFL Draft, it makes for a busy couple of days around the league.
JaMarcus Russell 'overweight and out of shape'
This may surprise you. Free agent quarterback JaMarcus Russell is looking for one last chance in the NFL, but it's unlikely a team is willing to grant his wish, the National Football Post reported Tuesday. The report said Russell was "overweight and out of shape," and NFL general managers are unlikely to give Russell a chance if he has yet to get past the primary problem that derailed his career in the first place.
Interest in Russell's comeback was low to begin, the National Football Post said. His last NFL game was Jan. 3, 2010. He had 1,287 passing yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the 2009-10 season.
The Chicago Bears opened workouts Tuesday, and Devin Hester did not run a single route with the wide receivers all day, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago. Instead, the veteran entering his seventh season worked exclusively with the specialists. Hester has excelled as a punt and kickoff returner since the Bears drafted him in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft out of Miami, but he's contributed as a secondary receiver each year, too.
That production on offense dropped in 2011 and 2012, though. His 26 receptions in 2011 and 23 catches in 2012 were both the lowest of his career since he had 20 receptions as a rookie in 2007, and he only had one touchdown catch in each of the last two seasons. His 242 receiving yards in 2012 were a career low.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman said earlier in the offseason that Hester would be used exclusively on special teams, so Tuesday's news shouldn't be much of a surprise.
The NFL proposed a number of changes to the offseason calendar, essentially delaying free agency and other events for two weeks, but the NFL Players' Association is unlikely to approve the changes, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported.
Maske reported that the delay to free agency was the biggest snag, but he also said the players' union wanting to avoid possible expansion of the regular season may also have impacted the decision to pass on the changes. The beginning of free agency, the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft would have each been pushed back two weeks if the proposal had passed. The current collective bargaining agreement made it such that both the owners and the players' union would have to approve such changes.
An extra two weeks on the back-end of the offseason could have allowed two more games to be wedged into the 17-week schedule, which the players' union wanted to prevent.
Peyton Manning feeling more arm strength
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said he's feeling additional arm strength after a series of five workouts just before the Broncos' team camp started Monday, Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post reported.
Manning said he had a series of workouts at Duke University with wide receivers Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and that he was feeling additional arm strength throughout. From the Denver Post:
"I've made some improvements since last year, but still have a plan with the trainers, a plan with the strength coaches," Manning said. "I'm still in a get stronger, rehab mode. I'll be that way for a pretty good while."
Manning was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year last season, leading the Broncos to a 13-3 regular season and No. 1 seed in the AFC. Denver lost its first playoff game, a 38-35 double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the eventual Super Bowl champions.
Keenan Allen, a wide receiver in this year's draft class out of Cal, had his drug test from the Combine flagged for suspiciously high levels of water, ESPN reported. The results of the test are as yet unknown.
Allen didn't even work out at the Combine--or at Cal's pro day, for that matter--because of a knee injury, but he was present and apparently was subjected to a drug test. He was forced to take a second drug test in March because of the red-flagged initial test.