Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Jul 2010

JaMarcus Russell Arrested For Possession Of Codeine Syrup

Ex-Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was arrested in Alabama yesterday after being found in possession of codeine syrup.

It apparently isn't new news. Raiders beat writer Jerry McDonald commented on the event on Twitter by saying "Wish I had a dollar for every time I got an e-mail or a tip about Russell and prescription cough syrup..."

Russell had been linked with several teams in recent days, including the Jets, but his arrest may end up keeping him out for the 2010 season or even have the effect of ending his NFL career.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Jul 2010

51 comments, Last at 08 Jul 2010, 4:39pm by Revenge of the NURBS


by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 7:42pm

his arrest may... even have the effect of ending his NFL career.

You mean to tell me his performances and attitude haven't already done that?

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 9:03am

Supposedly the Jets had some level of interest before, though it was never really explained exactly what that level was. But yeah, I'm thinking his NFL career was already on life-support to begin with. This is just pulling the plug on it.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 8:05pm

gerat ,move by Al Davis to get rid of this bum.

by Biebs (not verified) :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:13pm

Wow. That's really setting the bar low.

by DM (not verified) :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 8:51pm

So that's the 2nd time in as many days that guy who routinely eats 50 hot dogs in one sitting got arrested.

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:00pm

Well played, sir.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:50pm


by Bobman :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:35pm

Yes, that was awesome.

Take that, Japan! And if you strike back with some sumo giant, we'll counter with Jared Lorenzen. Good ole American ingenuity at work.

by Joe T. :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:35pm

Blame it on the purple drank.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:44pm

Russell maybe goign to have to join Hamilton Tigers-Cats now. Canada rights belong to them somehow. don't know how that league work but they must draft nfl players orn somehting. if join Hamilton then goign to be on NFL network this seaosn becuuase somne tigers cats games on. one on july 10 so wont be in that one but maybe laterr tones. with lager field there might be able to air out ball real good.

by BGNoMore (not verified) :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 12:24am

I don't know why Joe refers to a "lager field" when we all know he prefers ales to lagers. Or maybe the Tiger-Cats unis were designed by Karl Lagerfeld? Raiderjoe is such a multi-layered guy, it is sometimes difficult for mere mortals to keep up with the references.

(Captcha = "inflates you" on a JMarc thread; goodness, I love irony)

by pouringlizards (not verified) :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 9:47pm

Why would any NFL team go anywhere near this guy now?

Oh, and fair play DM. That renders almost any other comment redundant.

by andrew :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 1:00am

The Bengals?

by Independent George :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 10:04pm

Maybe he was just in the mood for a Flaming Mo.

by Guy #1 (not verified) :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:45am

I thought the secret ingredient was love?

by Dean :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:52am

Or was that the secret ingredient in the Flaming Homer?

by Independent George :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 3:17pm

I think that's for Mom's Robot Oil.

by Nathan :: Mon, 07/05/2010 - 10:34pm

purple drank!

by Theo :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 5:32am

Dear JaMarcus Russel,

Thank you.

Ryan Leaf

by Bobman :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:40pm

With these guys, you can't be 100% certain... was that "thank you for taking the media heat off me" or "thank you for sending me a case of your syrup last month..." or perhaps "thanks for that double-chocolate-chip with marshmallow fluff cookie recipe you sent me." or maybe "thanks for the lawyer referral."

Yeah, I'm thinking the last one.

by Scott C :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:51pm

I'm thinking "thanks, next time ESPN does a 'top 25 busts' show I'll have some competition".

by Pat Swinnegan (not verified) :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 10:19am

Am I the only one who thinks that this should (not to say it will) actually HELP JaMarcus's stock around the league? Absent this issue, Russell was just a high school and college star who couldn't hack it in the NFL – it was said he didn't have the skills upstairs to hack it in the pro game...

But in light of this development, maybe instead he's a guy who all along had the potential ascribed to him, and was just side-tracked by an addiction. If I'm in an NFL front office, I'm thinking just get him over the codeine thing (not like it's heroin) and now you've got a guy who's hungry to show he's really got it. Not like it would be an expensive experiment at this point.

Hey, at least it explains why he was falling asleep in the team meetings.

by Marko :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 10:47am

Yes, you are the only one.

by Joe T. :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:22am
by dmb :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:42am

If you get him over the codeine thing, I don't think you'll have a guy who's hungry to show he's got it. You'll just have a guy who's hungry.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 12:15pm

I had a similar thought, but quickly dismissed it. Russell still is just a high school and college star who couldn't hack it in the NFL. As for his skills upstairs, I do think there might be a small grain of "oh, that explains it" that can be taken away from this. But I don't think we can conclude that this is the cause of his problems, rather than just the latest example of them.

Russell never did show much of any promise at the NFL level. Unless we're prepared to conclude that his entire NFL body of work is nullified by this, I don't think there's much reason to take a flyer on him now. He'll need to get himself right, play well for at least one year in the CFL or UFL, and then see if someone will give him a shot, a la Lawrence Phillips (which is not an encouraging example).

by BGNoMore (not verified) :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 12:43am

Clearly I, like anybody else, can only guess. But my guess is you have the causality reversed. He doesn't suck because he's a codeine fiend; he's a codeine fiend because he sucks. There is tremendous pressure associated with being a high-profile NFL draftee, both in terms of actually doing the job and with massive public expectations (and at least doubly so for quarterbacks). Some can hack it, some can't. Those who can't might resort to escapism and self-medication; codeine is one route to take. This is amateur psychology, to be sure. But it is the same amateur psychology I would employ if I were an NFL GM, and I would conclude that the young man simply lacks the psychological make-up to be an NFL quarterback. More succinctly, the codeine isn't an explanation, the codeine is a confirmation.

Regardless, here's hoping he gets his act together, not so much on the field, but in life.

by doctorjorts :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 5:10pm

ACTUALLY of all the well-known street drugs out there, heroin is the closest thing to codeine. The only difference (though it's a big and important one) is that heroin is absorbed across the blood-brain-barrier almost immediately, creating a euphoric "rush," while other forms of morphine act on the brain much more slowly because they're absorbed gradually. It's not going to be as addicting, but prescription-strength codeine is not something people should be playing around with.

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 10:20am

At least he can afford a good rehab clinic.

I don't know why even the CFL would be interested in him now. But there is always the arena league for him to prove himself CFL-worthy.

by Dean :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:19am

If you can afford rehab, you don't have a drug problem yet.

by Pat Swinnegan (not verified) :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 1:13pm

I don't know why even the CFL would be interested in him now.

I agree. Especially considering codeine is sold over-the-counter up there...

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 10:26am

David Humm was not an exceptional athlete. He was an infrequently used backup for the Oakland Raiders for about a decade. But he was always there and ready. Despite all his gifts, Jamarcus Russell can't hold a candle to David Humm.

David Humm got MS at 36. Wikipedia says he does Oakland Raider color commentary still, but I am not sure about that. Still, that he ever did shows that the man has real character. Unlike Russell.

by Dean :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:51am

I remember him. Growing up, we used to refer to him tongue-in-cheek as Slingin' David Humm. Not sure why.

Aside from nostalgia, WTF does David Humm have to do with Jamarcus Russell and his sizzurp?

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 4:58pm

Because Jamarcus can't even measure up to David Humm. Not by a long shot.

by BDC :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 9:13pm

Are we really going to try to list all the players that JaMarcus Russell can't measure up to?

by Dan :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 1:59am

Error, this list contains the name Kim McQuilken. Please check the url and try again.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 1:00pm

Why? Kim mcquilcken real guy just happen to have girl name. Threew like one. Domt have stats near so goimg off top of head. Played for flacons and stunk like dead one rottimg in woods

by Dean :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 1:20pm

I think his point was that as bad as Jamarcus was, he's not worse than McQuilken.

Which isn't saying much.

He probably could have put Mike McMahon in there to have a DVOA era reference.

by Dan :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 4:37pm

McQuilken worst quarterback ever.
272 career attempts
108 completions
29 interceptions
31 sacks
4 touchdowns
4.2 yards per attempt
2.7 ypa if you include sack yards lost
negative ypa if you give a penalty for interceptions

And now I remember that they actually had a post about this. Rick Norton and Stan Heath should be in "biggest busts ever" conversation.

by Sophandros :: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 11:00am

No love for Terry Baker as worst QB and worst #1 overall pick ever?


Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 4:34pm

McQuilken probably didn't receive ~$30 million in exchange for being the worst QB ever. That's where JaMarcus really shines. He doesn't have the worst output of all time, but on a per $ basis, he's neck-and-neck with Ryan Leaf for the championship.

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 4:24pm

All Players: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/SmOIJ
All QBs (since 1969 for the sake of sack data): http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/kAfw9

These are just quickie lists, obviously--the first one is everyone with at least 9 points of approximate value (Russell has 8) and the second is everyone with at least as many attempts as Russell (680) and an ANY/A+ of 82 or higher (Russell is at 81).
Kim McQuilken does not appear on either of these lists.

If anybody else wondered, as I did, what QBs might actually show up as worse than Russell (with at least 680 pass attempts since 1969): http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/ZCJ2V
(Surprisingly, there are 7 QBs who came up, including two other top-6 picks.)

by BGNoMore (not verified) :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 12:58am

While I have to agree that the comparison seems a bit, um, arbitrary, I am oddly grateful for the David Humm flashback. Without that post, I would have never thought about Jamarcus Russell and then thought about a skinny, white, left-handed option quarterback. But that only demonstrates the limitations of my narrow mind.

by Nathan :: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 8:59pm

brings new meaning to the term "the game has slowed down for him"

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 1:48pm

I have to say this is a seminal schadenfreude moment. Usually I have much sympathy for people in difficult positions, but in Fatboy's case $40 million for three wasted years and being picked at the expense of someone decent; it provides satisfaction.

by Xeynon (not verified) :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 11:22pm

Such a sad waste of talent and potential. Russell has no one to blame but himself, of course, but it's still unfortunate to see anybody with tremendous gifts in any field squander them.

by Hugh Jass (not verified) :: Wed, 07/07/2010 - 11:23pm

Naturally, JaMarcus likes his narcotics in SYRUP form.

by Dimeford (not verified) :: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 9:47am

Raiders beat writer Jerry McDonald commented on the event on Twitter by saying "Wish I had a dollar for every time I got an e-mail or a tip about Russell and prescription cough syrup..."

Way to blow that story wide open, Jerry.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 12:28pm

He also said, "My answer was the same every time . . . can't touch the Russell-cough syrup issue until there's some kind of documentation . . ."

He at least had a reason for not reporting it earlier.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 07/08/2010 - 4:39pm

I understand Dimeford's point though. The quote implies that the writer received potentially hundreds of tips pointing to the same story. That doesn't mean he can slander Russell in the press, but maybe he could do a little digging. I'm pretty sure they still learn about that kind of stuff in J-school.