Twitter has been buzzing about a throwback story concerning former Raiders No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russells rookie season with the Raiders. Rather than participate in the traditional rookie talent show, Russell decided to toss money into the crowd of his teammates as if he were PacMan Jones at a gentleman’s club.
As a teammate, do you punch him in the face or do you just pick up the money?
Former Raider Josh McCown confirmed the story.
@RapSheet Confirmed. It was a good day to be in the front row!
It’s not groundbreaking news, but it does give some insight into why Russell became the poster child for wasted talent. Rather than understand the significance of team bonding and showing leadership, Russell cut corners all the way to the NFL. In the end, his lack of work ethic, discipline and desire was his downfall. All he ever wanted was the money and once he got it, success on the field didn’t really matter.
Two decades after he secured the bag from the Raiders and dipped out the backdoor, Russell is recognized as one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Hes also a cautionary tale for young athletes who become addicted to the money, fame and fastlife before ever proving anything on the field or putting in the work needed to live up to the zeros on the pro paycheck..
It’s the Jamarcus Russell way
Russell was 6-foot-6, 260-pounds from Mobile, Alabama. Rumor had it he could throw a football ball 70 yards through the air in a tight spiral since high school. His pro career began with Draft analysts drooling over his tools and future coming out of LSU. The Raiders selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 and gave him $61 million with $32 million guaranteed.
I cant remember being in such awe of a quarterback in my decade of attending combines and pro days. Russells passing session was the most impressive of all the pro days Ive been to, said ESPN analyst Todd McShay in 2007, while his colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., took the praise to even greater heights, proclaiming that three years from now, you could be looking at a guy thats certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league.
Then, just like that, he was out of the league at age 24 after just 31 games. Russells life went downhill, he was dedicated to his craft, not improving, sippin on sizzurp and eventually arrested for codeine syrup possession.
He attempted a comeback in 2013 that was documented by Bleacher Report in a series titled JaMarcus Russell’s Road Back to the NFL, but there were no takers. His name was already a condemned curse word through the NFL community. Not everyone can be Cam Newton, but at least Russell got to live the life of a king — if ever so briefly. His stories are legendary and thats got to count for something.