The Oakland Raiders released former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell on Thursday, ending a three-year tenure marked by his high salary and unproductive play on the field.
Senior executive John Herrera told The Associated Press about the move and said that “we wish him well.”
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, Akili Smith and others on that list. He will have been paid more than $39 million by the Raiders, while producing only seven wins as a starter.
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Since the start of the common draft in 1967, only one other No. 1 pick was released this quickly in his NFL career. Indianapolis cut 1992 top pick Steve Emtman, out of the University of Washington, after three seasons, but that was more because of injuries than production.
CAUGHT ON TAPE?
A lawyer who says he has recordings showing the New Orleans Saints tried to cover up prescription Vicodin thefts from team headquarters says the NFL has not asked to see any of the evidence that has already been sent to federal authorities.
“We’re not adverse to letting the NFL know what we know,” said attorney Donald Hyatt, who represents former Saints security director Geoffrey Santini. “Maybe they need to know what’s going on.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has said the league is aware of the case and is following developments, but he declined to address specifics.
Santini, who says he resigned last August over the club’s handling of the alleged Vicodin thefts, filed the lawsuit late last week.
Santini’s lawsuit alleges that Saints general manager Mickey Loomis asked Santini to keep quiet about the Vicodin case and allegedly told Santini not to preserve video evidence. The complaint also alleges that two trainers — Scottie Patton and Kevin Mangum — were caught on audio recordings discussing that they were ordered by Loomis to forge entries in official logs so the amount of Vicodin stolen would be reflected as an amount that had been properly distributed.
NFL WINS IN COURT
The NFL prevailed in a Minnesota case that threatened to dilute its league-wide drug-testing policy. That could mean Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the heart of the Minnesota Vikings’ defense, will have to serve four-game suspensions in the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson ruled that while the NFL violated a three-day notice requirement under a state law governing drug testing in the workplace, the players were not harmed by the failure to provide notice and it was not enough to block the suspensions.
The players plan to appeal the ruling and asked for an injunction that will allow them to play while the appeal proceeds.
Adam “Pacman” Jones, 26, has agreed to a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, putting the troubled cornerback on a team with a history of giving players second chances. … The Denver Broncos beefed up their offensive line by signing versatile free-agent Maurice Williams, who spent his first nine seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.