JaMarcus Russell, speaks to Sports Illustrated on the reasons behind his underwhelming performance as former quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders used their top pick in the 2007 draft to select JaMarcus. Russell won just seven of 25 starts, completed 52.1% of his passes and made only 18 touchdowns in his time with the team. In 2010, after three seasons of poor performance he was let go.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
On reports that he slept during team meetings: "In the NFL, my first year, I had to be there at 6:30 [a.m.] before practice and be on the treadmill for an hour. Then meetings come, I sit down, eat my fruit. We watch film, and maybe I got tired. Coach Flip [quarterback coach John DeFilippo] pulled me aside and said, 'What are you doing for night life?' I said, 'Coach, I'm just chilling.' He said, 'I need to get you checked out.' I did the sleep test, and they said I had apnea."
On the deaths of 11 family members or friends: "I went through so much no one knew about. Go to a funeral on Saturday, fly into the game on Sunday. Then I hear, 'He doesn't lead by example.' Really?"
On Russell's relationship with then-coach Tom Cable: "I stuck my neck out for him. Didn't complain when he benched me as the starter. Didn't complain when he called the same plays five damn times. Didn't [badmouth] him to other coaches. When the [media] asks me, I say, 'He's a good coach, a good guy.' Then I hear he says I was the worst thing ever happened to the Raiders, 'if it weren't for him we'd be in the playoffs'? ... It just got to where the game wasn't fun for me."