By now, you’ve heard the story. Back when they were still the Oakland Raiders, the team took some extreme measures to prove that JaMarcus Russell wasn’t doing everything in his power to be a good NFL player.
Back in 2018, former offensive lineman David Diehl said Raiders coaches used to give Russell blank tapes to determine if he was studying film. Russell would come into the Raiders’ facilities the day after receiving the tapes saying that he watched the blitz packages.
While speaking with Ryan Clark, Fred Taylor and Channing Crowder on The Pivot Podcast, Russell took major issue with how the Raiders were treating him with that blank tape trick.
“Why would you play a fucking game with my life. Why would you fuck 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 shit like that. For what? Why we even play that? If it is, so be it.”
In addition, JaMarcus Russell said that he felt constantly undermined by the Raiders, most notably, head coach Tom Cable.
“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 shit was lonely, bro.”
Though Russell admitted some fault of his own in what would become a cautionary tale, he also said he was dealt a bad hand.
“I wasn’t doing crazy s–t.” Russell said. “I was trying to chill, relax … and trying to win some football games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t winning. But I was dealt a bulls–t hand. 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 was asked by Clark if he felt like the Raiders wanted him to be the guy at quarterback after selecting him first overall.
“No, I didn’t feel that at all,” Russell said. “Going into that building was like, ‘What’s going to happen today?’ I was getting fined for crazy s–t. I didn’t know they had my weight set at a certain weight, so I was getting fined per pound [overweight] … They was trying to find ways to get paper back, I thought. Then they said I owed them money. Why would I owe them money? I signed a contract.”