Sports Guesspert: Better Bustee Bureau welcomes Russell

May 8, 2010 

LET'S SEE, WHAT was the last thing I spent a lot of money on that I immediately regretted buying?

Well, recently I paid a few hundred bucks to get the cruise control cable replaced on my '98 Mustang. But when I got on I-26, the cruise control decided it wanted to go beyond 80 mph without me putting my foot on the accelerator. But at least the garage fixed it for free. The important details since then are that a) the cruise control seems to work fine now, and b) I'm not dead from driving 100-plus mph into oncoming traffic. It's so much harder to file these columns on time when that happens.

Then again, these columns might be funnier if I were left in a ditch with a windshield wiper lodged up my nose.

Similarly, my evil twin brother Orville's good friend Al Davis recently paid $39 million for JaMarcus Russell to be the Raiders' starting quarterback. And all Oakland got was seven wins in 25 starts. Worst of all, a whole lot of doughnuts are gone forever from the team's training table.

And you're wondering why the Raiders haven't been in the NFL fast lane for almost a decade.

Some NFL pundits predict Russell can avoid the "biggest draft bust in NFL history" label and get his career back in order with another franchise if he improves his work ethic. Of course, NFL pundits also predicted that Russell was a can't-miss prospect with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Why do we follow TV draft prognosticators at all? You'd think they'd have gone the way of "thumbs up and thumbs down" movie review shows. When a pair of eggheads give two thumbs down to "Transformers 3: Revenge of the Impala-bots," but it rakes in $30 billion on its opening weekend, you know some opinions are obsolete.

Then again, who needs a work ethic when you've got $39 million in your back pocket?

For my money, Russell needs to prove he is motivated by buying his own UFL expansion franchise and name himself starting QB.

He can keep costs down at the outset by having the team colors be silver and black. Other than stretched-out pants, I can't believe his Raiders uniforms have taken all that much of a beating.

As for Russell using broadcasting as a fall-back career, I can't see any outlets being excited about putting him in the booth to call games.

PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: "It's second and inches for the Panthers. What do you think Clausen will do here?"

RUSSELL: "I think he should throw it 60 yards while on his knees."

PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: "And that's another useless comment by my partner."

RUSSELL: "At least I'm not talking with my mouth full anymore."

PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY: "That's because you ate all the press box Doritos before the second quarter."

There's always the reality genre. Maybe combine a quiz show with one of those "Biggest Loser" weight loss contests: "Are You Fatter Than an NFL Quarterback?"

And you've got to think that it's only a matter of time before Russell's first NFL coach, Lane "The Brain" Kiffin, will be unemployable for sideline work.

At that point, I'd love to be the TV exec who greenlights an '80s-style buddy cop show starring Russell and Kiffin. I'd call it, "Kiffy and the Fat Man." Special guest star: Al Davis as The Commish.

What's the moral of the story, kids? No matter how great a job you get, no matter how big your bank account, no matter how many people tell you you're the man to beat, you've got to outwork the competition.

Putting yourself on cruise control can be a dangerous thing.

ESPN.com runs Greg's Power Rankings every Monday. Pick your kicks at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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