The Oakland Raiders responded to former JaMarcus Russell’s recent arrest on Wednesday by saying they did all they could to help the former No. 1 overall pick before releasing him two months ago.
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The Raiders issued a statement two days after Russell was charged with possession of a controlled substance – codeine syrup – after being arrested at his home in Mobile, Ala.
“We did all that we could to intervene and assist with a myriad of issues with JaMarcus Russell,” the statement said. “NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time. Therefore, those in the media who declare what the Raiders knew or should have known or what the Raiders did or should have done, are reckless, irresponsible and offensive, and do a disservice to all concerned, including the public.”
The 24-year-old former LSU star was arrested Monday as part of a two-month undercover narcotics investigation, said Mobile County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Lori Myles. She would not say what led to his arrest. She said he did not have a prescription for the codeine.
Russell was released earlier in May after three disappointing seasons with the team. He had been paid about $36.4 million through last season and was still owed $3 million at the time of his release.
The Raiders have filed a grievance seeking $9.55 million from Russell in what they say was paid as salary advances for the 2010-12 seasons.
Russell won only seven of his 25 starts as the Raiders extended an NFL-worst streak to seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses. He completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2.
Russell was fined last year for being overweight when he showed up at training camp. He then put together one of the worst seasons in recent memory for an NFL quarterback. He completed 48.8 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 50.0 passer rating that was the lowest in 11 years.
He lost his job midway through last season and was eventually released on May 6, shortly after the team’s mandatory minicamp.