It was seemingly just a matter of time. Still, the news that JaMarcus Russell had actually been released by the Raiders left me shocked … and a little saddened.
What happened to the Oakland organization that always left me on the edge of my seat, defying logic and common sense at every turn?
The Raiders drafted well, made the deal to bring Jason Campbell in from Washington and now jettisoned Russell to the scrap heap. He made off with $39 million in this three years with the squad, so there’s a compulsion to list him at or among the league’s worst busts of all time. I can’t argue about his placement on the list, as the numbers speak for themselves. Russell’s final stretch of games in the 2008 season, where he seemingly found his stride, was just a mirage. I don’t know that an adjective exists to describe precisely how terribly Russell played last season. His work ethic, or lack thereof, is a thing of legend.
Can I offer this in his defense … he was playing for the Raiders! Russell stands as the poster boy, the most prominent face of the Oakland Mount Rushmore, representing years of illogical moves, bad signings and unfulfilled promise from draft picks. It became a running joke since that Super Bowl appearance against former coach Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers.
How did a man who was a football genius and helped build the league into its current state suddenly forget how to run a team?
Somehow, someway, a new world order began in Oakland this April. Who is at the controls? What happened to Al Davis?
Could a rebirth of Raider Nation be on tap for 2010?