Russell didn’t leave any stones unturned when talking about the Raiders
As Russell began to go into detail about his NFL career, he explained how and why things were going bad. “I was trying to chill, relax and win football games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t winning. I was dealt a bullshit hand”, the former first-overall pick stated.
"“I was at practice and these guys couldn’t catch a reverse, much less a 90-yard bomb”"
For all intents and purposes, this very well may be true. The Raiders finished the ’06 season 2-14, drafting Russell with the first-overall pick in the following off-season. Russell was dealt a bad hand – The same way all first-overall picks are dealt a bad hand.
The problem lies in Russell’s mindset. The LSU alum was unable to realize someone had to step up and put in more work than the rest of the team in order to take control and change the culture, nor did he have any intentions of being that guy. The proof of this is in the blank tapes incident, which Russell also addressed in the interview.
“I come in, my [tapes] the only one on the table. Y’all already been meeting before I got here or something?”, Russell explained when asked about the blank tapes. “At that point in time, in my life what was taking place, I might not have watched them”.
"“LSU wouldn’t have [singled me out] like that”"
For those who don’t know the legendary story of JaMarcus Russell and the tapes, it goes like this. To see if Russell was paying attention, the Raiders’ coaching staff gave their quarterback ‘blitz packages’. The next day, Russell was asked if he watched the tapes, answering yes. Unbeknownst to him, the tapes were blank.
What Russell is saying may be true, but as the (hopeful) franchise quarterback of a 2-win team, you have to expect to work harder than anyone else. Frankly, you should want to, ensuring the highest chance of getting your team on the right track.
Perhaps a big reason for Russell’s lack of motivation was him feeling the coaches didn’t support him.
“I didn’t feel like they were there for me”, Russell said. “At LSU, my coach wanted to coach me. [They] wanted me to do well. Others around me as well. In Oakland, I didn’t feel that”
Russell may have been dealt a bad hand, but his overall response during his playing career showed he was never ready to be that guy. Unfortunately, an abundance of potential fell victim to a lack of motivation and overall leadership.