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JaMarcus Russell could learn a lot from Josh Freeman

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We all know by now the story of Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Apparently content to have been the first pick in the draft three years ago -- and to make all the money that goes along with that distinction -- Russell never has embraced his role as an NFL quarterback, and the presumed leader of an NFL offense.

Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, a first-rounder last year, applies a far different attitude to his chosen field. And it’s the kind of mindset that may have allowed Russell to fulfill the potential that carried him to the top of the draft board.

I’m taking it very seriously,” Freeman told on Thursday regarding his approach to the offseason program. “Last year at this time, obviously the draft had not occurred, but after I got drafted it was a whirlwind. The focus really wasn’t on me per se, it was on who was going to be the guy -- Luke [McCown] or Byron [Leftwich]? They were trying to get me some reps and trying to incorporate me, but this year it’s my show. It’s my team and I want to win. I want to get things done the right way. I don’t really feel you do that by sitting around at home. I want to come in and work. I want to be as well prepared as I can be so when we get everybody back from OTAs we can get this thing rolling.”

So what message will this send to the other players?

“It shows guys that I’m serious,” Freeman said. “I’m young and I feel like I have something to prove. I think it’s the attitude the team should have. . . . Speaking as the quarterback of this team and in a quarterback-driven league, if your quarterback is not playing well it’s going to be tough winning ball games. I’m focusing on me and at the same time I’m trying to incorporate all of the receivers and running backs. . . . You want to get all the loose ends tied so when you get to the season there is no doubt. Let’s go get it.”

We assume plenty of Buccaneers fans are showing the beginnings of a smile, and possibly a desire to run through the nearest wall. But there’s one more quote to share.

“I want to win and I realize you have to put in the work,” Freeman said. “This is not a league where you can get by on talent alone. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to be in there working. You have to get it done. It’s definitely a love of winning -- beating Seattle, beating New Orleans, and beating the Packers. There is no feeling like winning in this league.”

Now go ahead, Bucs fans, and run through that wall.