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Raiders' Russell gone: 7 wins, $39M

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders released former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell on Thursday, ending a three-year tenure marked by his high salary and unproductive play.

Senior executive John Herrera said, "We wish him well."

The move comes less than two weeks after Oakland acquired quarterback Jason Campbell from Washington and signifies that owner Al Davis lost patience with the immensely talented but unproductive player he drafted No. 1 out of LSU in 2007 against the wishes of then-coach Lane Kiffin.

Russell will have been paid more than $39 million while producing seven wins as a starter, including 31-24 over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium in the final game of 2008.

The Raiders paid Russell more than $36 million through last season. They owe him $3 million more but save $6.45 million by not having him on the roster in 2010.

Is he one of the biggest busts ever? Former Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who was with the Raiders for Russell's rookie season, doesn't think so.

"That kid wasn't afforded the ability to succeed," Sapp said. "To label him the biggest bust is crazy."

Sapp pointed to Russell missing all of training camp his rookie season because of a contract impasse, and he said Russell lacked top-notch receivers, received spotty protection from left tackle and failed to get proper coaching.

"No kid drafted No. 1 has ever faced what this kid faced," Sapp said. "He walked into arguably the most dysfunctional franchise in professional sports in the past 20 years. Ryan Leaf had a squad around him. They had some weapons to work with. Russell had nothing. He never had a chance."

Since the start of the common draft in 1967, one other No. 1 overall pick was released this quickly. Indianapolis cut 1992 top pick Steve Emtman, a defensive lineman, after three seasons, mostly because of injuries.

Davis stood by Russell during his struggles, revealing when he fired Kiffin in 2008 that the coach did not want him.

"He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field," Davis read from a letter he sent Kiffin.

Russell, 7-18 as a starter, completed 52.1 percent in his career, with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2. That means he has been paid more than $5 million per win, more than $2 million per touchdown pass and more than $100,000 per completion.

More Raiders: Former Bucs running back Michael Bennett, 31, signed, his fifth team since being a first-round pick by the Vikings in 2001.

'Pacman' joins bengals: Adam "Pacman" Jones has agreed to a two-year deal with the Bengals, putting the troubled cornerback on a team with a history of giving players second chances. Jones, 26, was released by the Cowboys after the 2008 season and didn't play last year.

Vikings suspensions: A Minnesota judge chastised the NFL and said the league broke state law even as he handed it a significant victory in a closely watched lawsuit by two Vikings challenging their suspensions for taking a banned substance. Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson said the league failed to notify Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of their test results within three days, as required in Minnesota, and said an NFL official played "a game of 'gotcha' " with them. But he said that wasn't enough to block four-game suspensions for each. The players plan to appeal the ruling.

Raiders' Russell gone: 7 wins, $39M 05/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 11:45pm]
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