JaMarcus Russell, the Top NFL Draft Pick in 2007, Says Football Was No Longer Fun

The former Oakland Raiders quarterback blames feuding with head coach Tom Cable, sleep apnea, lack of talent around him and family deaths for his departure from football after just three years.

Posted: 10/27/2011 06:57 PM EDT
Filed Under Oakland Raiders

JaMarcus Russell

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, drafted No.1 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2007, could go down one day as the biggest first-round bust of all time.
 
To judge by an article in this this week's Sports Illustrated, however, Russell will certainly go down as the biggest whiner in NFL history. He seemed to blame everyone but the man on the moon for the lackluster three seasons he played in the NFL, before the Raiders finally booted him in 2010.
 
Russell blames ex-head coach Tom Cable, his teammates, sleep apnea and even the death of relatives for his downfall.
 
"I stuck my neck out for him," Russell says of Cable. "Didn't complain when he benched me as the starter. Didn't complain when he called the same plays five damn times. Didn't (badmouth) him to other coaches. When the (media) asks me, I say, 'He's a good coach, a good guy.' Then I hear he says I was the worst thing ever happened to the Raiders, if it weren't for him we'd be in the playoffs?
 
"It just got to where the game wasn't fun for me."
 
Part of the problem seemed Russell just wasn’t prepared to do what is required to be a player in the NFL, much-less put in the work to warrant being a franchise player. Russell won just seven of 25 games, while completing just 52.1 percent of his passes and throwing 18 touchdowns over his three years in Oakland.
 
"Things weren't going right, and it felt sometimes like everything fell back on me. I take some responsibility, but I was one guy," said Russell, who is back in his hometown of Mobile, Ala. "I may have missed a throw, but I didn't give up 42 points, I didn't miss a block."
 
 
Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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