Report: Russell slimmer, more fit

Updated: March 17, 2010, 1:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

JaMarcus Russell, who was missing from the Oakland Raiders' first day of offseason workouts, arrived Tuesday -- and reportedly, the quarterback is noticeably slimmer and more fit.

Several Raiders players said Russell appears to be in better physical shape than he was last season, the Oakland Tribune reported.

That report seemed to back up what Raiders director of squad development Willie Brown said Monday, when he told Comcast SportsNet that Russell, who was listed last season at 260 pounds, had spent the last month working out at an Arizona training facility.

"You'll be surprised when you see him," Brown said Monday on Comcast SportsNet. "It's quite a bit of weight that he's lost. ... 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."

Russell, drafted first overall by the Raiders in 2007, had a nightmarish 2009 season. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes, threw more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (3) and was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. He was criticized for his work habits and lack of game preparation.

Brown said Monday on Comcast SportsNet that Russell, having learned from last year's hard knocks, is now eating prepared meals, working out and taking direction from the team.