Raiders issue statement about their handling of Russell’s issues


The Raiders issued a statement on their website Wednesday afternoon in response to some writers taking them to task for their handling of former JaMarcus Russell the past three years.

“We did all that we could to intervene and assist with a myriad of issues with JaMarcus Russell. NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time,” the statement said. “Therefore, those in the media who declare what the Raiders knew or should have known or what the Raiders did or should have done, are reckless, irresponsible and offensive and do a disservice to all concerned, including the public.”

MediaNews columnist Monte Poole criticized the Raiders for their handling of Russell in today’s papers. The column can be found on-line, as well. The Raiders didn’t single out Poole, but it’s apparent that his column provided some, if not all, of the impetus for their statement.

Russell was arrested in Mobile, Ala., on Monday for possession of a controlled substance — prescription-strength codeine syrup. He posted bail, was released and is scheduled to appear in court July 20.

Russell could not be reached for comment for this story. It’s important to note that none of Russell’s former teammates or coaches have accused him of being under the influence of drugs at any time during his three-year career.

Several of his teammates said that they heard rumors of Russell using the codeine syrup the past three years. However, none witnessed him using it in person.

The Raiders released Russell in early May, a little more than three years after they selected him with the first pick of the 2007 NFL draft. He remains unemployed.

During a tumultuous three seasons, Russell was criticized by teammates and coaches for being overweight, out of shape and showing up late for meetings, among other things.


Steve Corkran