Former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell recalls disappointing NFL career
July 13, 2022
Widely considered the biggest bust in NFL history, JaMarcus Russell was picked No. 1 overall in 2007 by the Oakland Raiders. In this week's The Pivot Podcast, Russell spoke with former NFL players Ryan Clark, Fred Taylor, and Channing Crowder about what went wrong with his career.
Russell might still be the Raiders' starting quarterback if he lived up to their expectations. Sadly, his NFL career ended after three seasons in 2009.
When he came into the NFL in 2007, he was one of the most promising quarterback prospects. Although Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson were both Hall of Famers, the Raiders selected Russell over them.
However, Russell claimed that the Raiders never gave him the chance to shine, making him one of the most disappointing picks in the league.
“I wasn’t doing crazy sh–t. I was trying to chill, relax ... and trying to win some football games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t winning. But I was dealt a bullsh–t hand," Russell said.
"I'm at practice, bro, and these folks couldn’t catch a reverse, bro. Six plays straight, but you want to go downfield and catch a 90-yard pass."
He implied that the Raiders did not want him at all. He was fined for no reason and told he owed them money.
"Why would I owe them money? I signed a contract," he said.
'Why would you f–ck me over?'
Russell expressed dissatisfaction with the Raiders' coaching staff, particularly head coach Tom Cable, who took over for Lane Kiffin midway through Russell's second season in Oakland. Russell did not shy away from hammering back on his former coach.
He discussed how the Raiders brought in two quarterbacks—Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye—who were ready to take over for Russell, which they both accomplished that season.
"He was already jiving me from the get-go. That's how I feel," Russell said. "I don't know what's going on in this building. I don't know who's with me and who's against me. That sh–t was lonely, bro."
When asked about the famed DVD tale, Russell could neither confirm nor reject the story but confessed that he might not have seen the video. He said what irritated him the most was the method used to disparage him.
"Why would you play a f–king game with my life? Why would you f–ck me over? You're supposed to be teaching me so we can get better, man. I never got that. LSU wouldn't have done no sh–t like that."
Russell also wrote extensively on his time in Oakland for The Players' Tribune in June. He recalled the tragedies of losing family members and his reliance on codeine. However, in his chats with Clark, Taylor, and Crowder, Russell claimed he was content with where his life had led him.
"Everything that went wrong, if I could have done better ... I take fault in that. Let's get this straight. I ain't asking for no pity from nobody under no circumstances. What happened, happened. Let's move on. Football don't last forever. It gave me a great start on life. I ain't mad at nothing or nobody."