Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Dec 2005

Darrell Russell Dies at 29

The former Raider, one of the most purely talented defensive linemen the game has seen but a player whose off-field problems eclipsed his on-field accomplishments, was in a car crash.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 15 Dec 2005

28 comments, Last at 17 Dec 2005, 6:49pm by big_adventure


by sippican (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 9:06pm

You know, there's speeding, and then there's:

hit a curb, tree, newsstand, fire hydrant, light pole, another tree and an unoccupied transit bus,

by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 10:12pm

It's a shame there weren't any ramps for them to hit so we could throw in some San Francisco Rush jokes.

It's a shame though because Russell had talked at the rookie sympossium just this past year about what he did wrong throughout his career and what to avoid.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 10:19pm

I don't suppose he told the rookies to avoid unoccupied transit buses.

by raidassss (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 11:02pm

Another classy Raider hits the skids.......

by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 11:21pm

Wow. And I thought I was cynical.

by Adam O (not verified) :: Thu, 12/15/2005 - 11:33pm

While I'm no big Russell admirer, the fact remains that a man has died. Let's try to show just a little more class, folks.

by Vash (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 1:17am

How does a car hit two trees and a newsstand (not one of those little metal newspaper boxes, a NEWSSTAND), and still have enough speed to crash into a bus?

by Joon (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 1:32am

i agree with #6. and for those who didn't read the article, russell was not actually the driver of the vehicle. as checkered as his history is, this one isn't on him.

by El Angelo (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 2:23am

#6 & #8 are 100% right; Russell, much like as all, wasn't perfect, and there's no reason to pour it on when the poor man has passed away.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 2:35am

People die every day. If you cannot laugh about death than what can you laugh about. Its human nature to expres schadenfreud towards those "above" us who falter.

by Joon (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 3:17am

Re: #10

If you cannot laugh about death than what can you laugh about.

oh, i dunno... just about anything else? (maybe not religion or race, in some cases. YMMV.) really, though, almost everything in life is comic--except for actual tragedy. so while everybody can have a good laugh at alex smith or the vikings sex boat, making jokes about a fatal auto accident is a little low-brow even for my ordinarily low-brow tastes.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 4:23am

Your perspective and your sense of humor are your only defense.

That said, how the hell DID they hit the curb, tree, newstand, fire hydrant, light pole, another tree and finally, a bus?

We're going to find out that they had a winning lottery ticket in the car or something, with probability that distorted. Was the "Heart of Gold" in the vicinity?


by Raul Amargosa (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 5:48am

When I die I hope people would joke about it rather than get serious about it. Though making insults at me would be different.

by Kevo (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 11:26am

The only person I see insulting Russell is #4, unless my sarcasm detector is broken and raidassss is serious.

And Re: 8, I don't think anyone blamed Russell for this.

I agree with Raul on this one. When I die, I hope people can have a sense of humor about it. No sense in wasting tears on a dead guy.

And notably when someone dies in such a ridiculous matter--I mean, what are the odds? Always look on the bright side of death, as the Monty Python guys would say.

by Josh (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 11:30am

First saw this story in a headline that said "ex-Raider killed in car crash," didn't say who. Totally shocked it wasn't Barrett Robbins

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 12:21pm

oops. I was totally thinking of Robbins when I saw this last night.

The only way I can see this car hitting everything that it did was if there was a crashbreaker somewhere between the newsstand and the fire hydrant ...

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 12:34pm


I think Barret Robbins is unkillable. I was convinced after taking those bullets from the cops and still had the stregnth to fight before collapsing.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 1:19pm

hit a curb, tree, newsstand, fire hydrant, light pole, another tree and an unoccupied transit bus,
... nothin' but net?

by Tim L (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 2:54pm

Not funny. Making jokes over a person's death is immature and classless, regardless of what is your personal opinion.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 3:01pm

A death is certainly tragic to the person involved and his/her relations. However, a certain point is reached when the absurdity of the situation becomes comedic gold. As with any form of humor, the merit is in the eye of the beholder. However, the popularity of the Darwin awards lends credence to the fact that people will appreciate such humor, regardless of the human element.

by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 5:13pm

Tim L and others,

While I appreciate that you find others laughing about the circumstances of someone's death distasteful (and possibly offensive), there is nothing apparently priveleged or objectively right about that position. Please respect that others do not at all feel that way, even though we are not evil people nor do we torture kittens. Many reasonable people strongly disagree with the indignation you express.

Like every similar thread, if you don't want to participate or read, don't; but please save the moral indignation. It's not warranted.


Hopeless Lions Fan,

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 6:46pm


Are you saying that YOU don't torture kittens? Don't knock it until you've tried it.

Wait, that WAS in really bad taste. Sorry.


by Daniel (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 6:52pm

I appreciate your attempt at articulating why it's alright for people to make fun of a 29-year-old who just died in a car accident.

Try to understand, though, that just because you write in complete sentences and use words like "indignation," it doesn't give your stance any more substance.

by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 8:17pm

re 23 (Daniel):

My point isn't that I'm right and you are wrong; it's that neither of our positions is objectively right (it's subjective), and thus to more than one other person it's not at all clear the posters above are in bad taste.

If taste isn't subjective, I don't know what is.

At any rate, I'm baffled as to why you wouldn't just look elsewhere if you find this sort of thing offensive. Is the internet low on things you don't find distasteful or offensive?


Hopeless Lions Fan,

by Richie (not verified) :: Fri, 12/16/2005 - 10:30pm

What does joking about his death here matter? How does it affect anything? What are the chances that anybody he knows will log on this website?

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Sat, 12/17/2005 - 4:32am

25 - Even if they do, I can say that, even if they hate me, curse me, post un-true (perhaps, it's really nobody else's business) kitten-torturing rumors about me, I will be able to take their loathing with the utmost of equanimity.

I feel bad for his family, I feel bad for his friends and I feel bad for the trees, the bus and the house that burned down because the car crushed a fire-hydrant (hypothetically speaking). But that's not going to stop me from making jokes about it.


by Ben Roethlisberger (not verified) :: Sat, 12/17/2005 - 11:36am

Russell appears to have given Justin Stzrelczyk a run for his money for the Blaze of Glory Award, but he comes up a bit short. For those of us who missed it, Stzrelczyk was going 110 MPH the wrong way on the highway while running from the cops when he hit a chemical truck head-on.

Russell was just a passenger, though. None of the articles say whether Bastianelli (the driver) was inebriated, but I'd say the odds favor it.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Sat, 12/17/2005 - 6:49pm

27 - Missed it?

Big Ben, I can't even SAY it. "Stzrelczyk". Next time, please include a pro-nun-see-ay-shun guide.