The Oakland Raiders released former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell yesterday, ending a three-year tenure marked by his high salary and unproductive play on the field.
The decision came less than two weeks after Oakland acquired Jason Campbell from Washington to take over at quarterback and signifies that owner Al Davis finally lost patience with the immensely talented but unproductive player he drafted first overall in 2007 against the wishes of former coach Lane Kiffin.
Russell will now likely be considered one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, joining Ryan Leaf, Ki-Jana Carter, and Akili Smith among others. He will have been paid more than $39 million by the Raiders, while producing only seven wins as a starter.
The Raiders paid Russell more than $36 million through last season. They still owe him $3 million more but saved $6.45 million by not having him on the roster in 2010.
Since the start of the common draft in 1967, only one other No. 1 pick was released this quickly. Indianapolis cut 1992 top pick Steve Emtman after three seasons but that was more because of injuries than production.
Saints’ case heats up
A lawyer in New Orleans who says he has recordings showing that the Saints tried to cover up prescription Vicodin thefts from team headquarters said the league has not asked to see any of the evidence that has already been sent to federal authorities. “We’re not [averse] to letting the NFL know what we know,’’ said attorney Donald Hyatt
, who represents former Saints security director Geoffrey Santini
. “That’s the governing body for the sport. Maybe they need to know what’s going on.’’ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello
said the league is aware of the case against the Saints and is following developments, but he declined to address specifics . . . A Minnesota judge chastised the NFL and said the league broke state law even as he handed it a significant victory in a lawsuit by two Vikings
challenging their suspensions for taking a banned substance. Judge Gary Larson
said the NFL failed to notify the two players of their test results within three days, as required in Minnesota, and said an NFL official played “a game of ’gotcha’’’ with them. But he said that wasn’t enough to block the league’s plan to suspend the players for four games each. The decision doesn’t necessarily clear the way for the NFL to suspend Kevin Williams
and Pat Williams
for part of next season, however. The judge put off a decision on whether to extend an injunction blocking the suspensions pending an expected appeal by the players.
Bengals sign Jones Adam
agreed to a two-year deal with the Bengals, putting the troubled cornerback on a team with a history of giving players second chances. Jones, 26, who was released by the Cowboys
after 2008 and didn’t play last year, has struggled to stay on the field since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005 because of repeated arrests . . . The Broncos signed free agent offensive lineman Maurice Williams
, who spent his first nine seasons with the Jaguars . . . Former Giants defensive end George Martin
was elected CEO and president of NFL Alumni, Inc.
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