Money or Redemption?

For the past couple of months, I’ve been following the story of Jamarcus Russell, the former Oakland Raiders quarterback who wasted millions of dollars in Raiders salary and three seasons of football. He was drafted number one overall in the 2007 NFL draft and given a $61 million contract. Despite having a powerful arm and standing six foot six, he demonstrated a lack of a work ethic. After three abysmal seasons in which more than one he was caught sleeping during team meetings, he was released in 2010. When he tried to catch on with one of the 31 other NFL teams, he discovered that no one wanted him.

He often appeared for press conferences wearing a fur coat and diamond earring. It was obvious from the beginning that he was in it for the money, not for the sport.

Now, three years later, the 27-year-old former NFL quarterback is attempting a comeback. Videos of his workouts are shared on CNN, Yahoo and sports websites. And there have been reports that team scouts have been paying attention, and even that he has a good chance of some team allowing him to try out for them, and possibly make the team.

As an Oakland Raiders fan who suffered through the horrific seasons when he played for them, I find myself wondering, who in their right mind would let him play for them? He is showing a determination in his training sessions, even losing 30 pounds in the process. He still has the physical gifts. The question comes down to, what is his motivation?

Is he playing because he misses the game, because he feels that he messed up and still has something to prove? Or is he wanting to play because he squandered his money and knows of no other way to make millions?

If it is the former, yes, then give him a chance. Bring him in for the league minimum and let him prove himself. But if there is any hint that he’s there for the money, then forget him. He had his chance. Another one won’t change anything.

I have yet to find a writer who has become successful because he thought it was a good way to make money. Writers become successful because they have a hunger within them that can only be quenched by writing, and convincing others to read their writing. How do you convince others to read your writing? (1) Keep writing until you are the best you can be; (2) market your name. Get it out there, associated with that great writing that you are sweating over. More than anything, suffer through the rewriting process and make it as perfect as you can make it.

But it all starts with having the right frame of mind. How badly do you want it? Are you wanting fame and fortune? Is that what drives you?

Or do you have something to prove?