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Former bust Russell to work out for Bears

The SportsXchange

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Some big-name quarterbacks, of sorts, will be visiting Halas Hall later this week for workouts with the Chicago Bears, led by former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who was a bust with the Oakland Raiders.

Jordan Palmer, the brother of current Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, will also visit, as will former Buffalo Bills starter Trent Edwards.

All three were drafted in 2007, Edwards in the third round and Palmer in the sixth. Edwards has started 33 NFL games, while Palmer has never started.

Russell reportedly has shed 50 pounds in recent months. He has drawn interest from multiple teams, including the Bears, who would like to get their own evaluation.

Originally, the Bears weren't interested in taking a look at Russell

Then, in April, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, who is working with Russell, called Chicago and Arizona ideal fits for Russell, who told Yahoo! Sports he didn't want to be remembered as a "bust."

Russell is working at the TEST Football Academy with Garcia. Russell hasn't played a down of football in the NFL since 2009, and he won just seven of 25 starts during his career in Oakland. Russell received approximately $39 million in three seasons in Oakland, and has completed 52.1 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a passer rating of 65.2.

In 2010, authorities charged Russell with felony possession of a controlled substance, a drink containing codeine cough syrup, when officers raided his home that July. A grand jury declined to indict the quarterback later that year on those charges.

Russell reportedly weighs 265 pounds, which was his weight when the Raiders made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.

There has been no indication that coaches are dissatisfied with current backup quarterbacks Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard, but neither is entrenched.

Tight end Gabe Miller will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.

Miller, a fifth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 who spent most of last season on the Bears' practice squad, is far from a lock to make the final 53-man roster. The position includes starter Martellus Bennett and backups Steve Maneri, Kyle Adams, Brody Eldridge and Fendi Onobun. Fullback Evan Rodriguez has played some tight end in the past as well.

--Second-year fullback/tight end Rodriguez has a lot of work to do between now and the start of the regular season -- not just on the field and in the classroom.

He has to make amends for last week's DUI arrest.

"I apologize to the whole organization and my family and my teammates," Rodriguez said after Tuesday's practice. "I know I made a poor judgment that night. I also have to earn my teammates' trust back and the coaches' trust back. I can say a whole bunch of words, but I have to lead by my actions."

Rodriguez was also arrested in March for misdemeanor resisting an officer without violence and disorderly intoxication, but those charges were dropped.

General manager Phil Emery expressed disappointment with Rodriguez after the first incident. On Tuesday, Emery said: "Evan is a very likeable guy. We have talked. I'm disappointed. I would use the word 'extremely,' and we'll leave it at that."

Rodriguez's future with the Bears is tenuous.

"I just have to face the music," he said. "Anything that's going to happen, I just have to handle it and be a man about my whole approach about everything. I have to hold myself more to a higher standard and be more accountable for my actions."

--Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi continues to work out on his own in Arizona while missing all of the voluntary off-season workouts and practices. But the 2011 first-round pick remains in contention for a roster spot, according to Emery.

"Gabe is doing what he feels is best for Gabe," Emery said. "We'll welcome him with open arms when he comes. I look forward to seeing how he's doing."

Next week's minicamp is mandatory, but Emery didn't say if Carimi would be there.

"That'll be up to Gabe," Emery said. "I'm assuming that he will be. Certainly he wants to play and wants to play well. I think that's why he's approached his training that way."
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