Kirk Morrison Calls JaMarcus Russell the Team Leader

Today on ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning, Kirk Morrison delivered a dagger to the hearts of bloggers and sports talk radio hosts nationwide by proclaiming JaMarcus Russell as the leader of the Oakland Raiders.

The statement is in stark contrast to many of the reports and articles written about Russell recently with the newest issue revolving around Russell’s absence from the final day of the last OTA.

Keyshawn Johnson was filling in for a vacationing Jim Rome and did his best to give Morrison every opportunity to stir the pot and each time Morrison proved to be every bit the professional that Meshawn never was.

When Johnson attempted to get a laugh out of Morrison for the Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Mitchell selections, Morrison quickly reminded Key that he was a former third round pick who proved his worth in the NFL. Kirk went on to explain that both of the newest Raiders arrive with a chip on their shoulder and are eager to disprove the criticism.

When Johnson argued that Tom Cable only led the Raiders to 4 wins in 12 games last season, Morrison interjected that Cable got the team on track by season’s end including that dramatic victory over a Tampa Bay team seeking a playoff berth.

Perhaps Keyshawn was just trying to get a ratings spike in Rome’s absence but in the end he looked like a novice show host who offered very little insight and only made Raider fans even more proud to have #52 wearing silver and black.

Morrison is in a contract year so he was asked the obligatory question of what his future plans are. A Bay Area native, Morrison expressed his desire to remain in Oakland while being quick to go to the “this is a business” card.

With all the money committed to Nnamdi Asomugha, JaMarcus Russell and a looming contractual hold out for Mario Henderson, it would appear that keeping Morrison in the fold will take some very creative accounting. At the end of the day, much will be decided by how the team performs in 2009.

While Johnson’s feeble attempts to get a sound bite from Morrison were sophomoric at best, Raider fans should be nervous about Keyshawn’s assessment of Heyward-Bey. After all, who better than Keyshawn would know more about being the first receiver picked in the draft and becoming a bust?


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Tags: Darrius Heyward-Bey JaMarcus Russell Jim Rome Keyshawn Johnson Kirk Morrison Mario Henderson Michael Mitchell Nnamdi Asomugha Tom Cable

  • Chris

    It is high time that Russell steps up and rededicates himself to his profession. When the team drafted him 1st overall I immediately said that if he pans out the Raiders will be fine but if he is a bust the organization will be set back another 10 years. Unfortunately, for the Raider Nation it looks like the latter is coming to fruition. Big big year for Russell. A make or break year if you ask me.

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  • Chris


  • Chris

    It is high time that Russell re-dedicates himself to his profession and starts to show us why the team selected him first overall a few years back. Russell has the big arm as we all know but his throws have been eratic since day one. Furthermore, he has not shown the leadership skills that you are looking for in a franchise QB. Personally, I believe we are better off with Garcia at QB however I am rooting for JaMarcus. We all need to be. It is a make or break year for the young man.

    Raider fans check out my site for commentary that is everything the Raiders and fantasy football.


    Entering year 3 for any young quarterback is usually the barometer to gauge whether or not they will be a successful QB in the league. Quite often what they do in this pivotal year determines their immediate and future success. Is it time to panic, is it time to rejoice, or is it time to give the kid a break still. No matter what corner you are in, one thing is certain, it’s time to put up or shut up.

    Do we all remember the Jamarcus Russell who wooed scouts with his 6’6” 255lb. frame, starred at LSU and tore up the SEC, and in his private workouts had what that one veteran scout referred to the best workouts since Peyton Manning. Where is that Jamarcus Raider fans? Did the long layoff his rookie year hurt him that bad, you have to say yes. Did the big money without throwing a single pass get to him, who knows? Did the lack of work ethic and consistent weight gains without supervision catch up to him, well probably. That is why this year is so important to Raider nation and to a young man’s psyche. It is no coincidence that Jeff Garcia was signed to be waiting in the wings, just in case of course. Can you say one three-turnover game and your gone to the bench. That is what awaits this young man. It is time for Mr. Russell to step away from the buffet table and re-commit himself to his profession. If not, the silver and black have a reliable starter to plug in and a moment’s notice. Jamarcus has just got to dedicate himself to his team, the city, the rabid fans, and most importantly himself. The streets are littered with the likes of young guys who did not pan out because they did not do the necessary work to make them successful. Can you say Todd Marinovich Raider fans?

    I really am pulling for the guy. He has all the intangibles you look for; proven track record in college at a big time program under the microscope, the BIG arm teams drool over, the size, the chip on the shoulder attitude, and the small town upbringing to be humble. What he needs is someone on the end of those throws, a few linemen who can keep him upright, and some tough love when necessary. Do the raiders have that guy in the locker room right now, who knows. Just this week Warren Sapp came out and said the young guys tuned him out during his time there, is it a trend, or is this just the shape of sports right now, or was Warren over embellishing. One thing is for certain, the kid has “star” written all over him if he gets the right support and tutoring. Do the raiders have more enablers or more guys who will get in your face when it is needed. Let’s not forget, football is not for the faint and this might be the last bastion of the true gladiator spirit and mentality on a sports field. You have to have a mental toughness not seen by many but exhibited daily. That is something you can’t measure, time, lift, nor throw.

    The quarterback position if drafted and developed correctly will set your team up for success for 10-15 years. Look at the model NFL franchises right now, Pittsburgh, New England, Indianapolis, and the Giants to name a few. All raider fans know what happened after Rich Gannon left. Do we want to go down that road again. That is why we all should be pulling for Jamarcus right about now.

  • Phillip

    With the uncapped seasons coming the Raiders will be able to sign who they want, Morrison being one of them.

    As far as Henderson holding out for more money? he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Henderson had a couple of good games and that’s it, lets see if he can keep it up for a whole season. Just because he has a new agent, doesn’t mean he can demand more money just yet, he hasn’t earned it yet.

    Also Henderson doesn’t seam to be the type of player that wouldn’t honor his rookie contract. If any player deserves more money, it would be TE Zach Miller.

    As far as I am concerned, Russell is entering his second year as a starter, there for, I am giving him this year as well as next year to become the face of the franchise.

  • Aaronraider13

    Funny point number 1.
    Jim Rome has his own show.
    Funny point number 2.
    Keyshawn is his guest host.
    Funny point number 3.
    Some people actually watch them.
    Now i am really laughing.

  • JSpicoli

    Are you Professors of “Rededication” and “Leadership” are doing a great job of buying into the idiot-speak of BSPN and the mediots. WINS = Leadership. When we get A) good 0-line play, and B) steady WR’s the QB play will improve. not to mention getting some experience under the belt of our 24 year old QB. When we are 6-4 mid way through the season, JRuss can show up in a tu-tu and no one will care. This is all offseason bored talk and Raider hating media contrived.

  • JSpicoli

    All you professors…

  • kev

    zach miller, along with mike bush, these guys should get contract reworkings during next years uncapped season. this would show others what being willing as well as capable can do for players.

  • JSpicoli

    Point of Order….KMorrison said that JRuss leads the Offense. The question from Keyshawn went something like “So Nnamdi and you lead the Defense. Who leads the Offense?”

  • Black Jack 32

    Take my word…Defensive Coordinator Jim Marshall after about Game 5 will have the “Front 7″ of the Raider D so stoked that every running back that we face will back step and stutter aimlessly as they try to avoid the “AUTUMN WIND” of the Silver and Black!

  • cj


  • Mildog

    How about if we all just give it a rest. There is too much being written about JaMarcus. People are trying to decide if he will be the next Ryan Leaf or to start planning the festivities for his Hall of Fame induction. How about if we wait to see him on the field.

  • raidermangary

    A good rushing attack will make Russels job far easier this year. With the bust of a project we had at left tackle gone, he will have the time to attack receivers.
    Just go back to Tampa and see how things were working when Bush was running Chuckies boys over.

  • kip

    There is only one stat that matters and that stat is Russell has gone 5-12 in his 1st 16 starts as where Manning went 4-12. I’m not going to say that Russell will ever be Manning but we have to understand that Russell didn’t get to play until the last game of the season in his so called Rookie season. The Raiders will be much better this year no doubt.

  • peteo

    lets get a couple of things straight about Jamarcus.

    1) he doesnt exactly have a “proven track record in college at a big time program under the microscope or the chip on his shoulder attitude. he was a starter for one year and was looking over his shoulder as the #2 man was vying for his job. not to mention if he actually had a chip on his shoulder at anytime it was dropped as soon as he got 68 mil.

    2) the only way he will ever be a “star” is if he can hit a wide open reciever and not the hot dog vendor in the 23rd row. I realize the line is to blame for some of it but when you have time and cant hit the wide open man or you fumble with noone around you, you are not anywhere near “star” quality.

    3) on a positive note, I did read where the current staff is working with Russell to get his mechanics straightened out. if this is true then look for jamarcus to have a much better year this year as opposed to last.