JaMarcus Russell is a former professional American football player. Interested in football since childhood, he began his career in football during his college years by playing for the Louisiana State University team. His performance earned him a position as a starting quarterback and subsequently, the title of SugarBowl MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 2007. In 2007, he signed a six-year contract with the professional football team Oakland Raiders, a bond that did not last as long as expected. His bleak start as a professional and the subsequent cancellation of his contract affected the trajectory of his career negatively. ‘Huffington Post’ listed him as ‘one of the 13 biggest draft busts of the 2000s’. He was once arrested for the possession of codeine syrup without a valid doctor’s prescription. This incident also had a very negative impact on his already floundering career.
Childhood & Early Life
JaMarcus Trenell Russell was born on 9th August 1985, at Mobile, Alabama. His father Bobby Lloyd was a machine operator and his mother Zina L. Russell-Anderson was employed as a secretary at a law firm.
He attended the Lillie B. Williamson High School in Alabama. During his football practice under head coach Bobby Parrish, he realized his passion for the sport and never missed a game. His performance during his freshman year earned him participation in the state championship game. Apart from football, he was interested in basketball and javelin as well.
During his sophomore year, he led his team to the semifinals in the football state championship. In his senior year, he completed 219 of the 372 passes for 3,332 yards along with 22 touchdowns. He also rushed for another 400 yards and five touchdowns. This performance earned him the All-American honorable mention honors by the ‘Parade’ magazine.
He created the Alabama High School Athletic Association record of 10774 career passing yards, a record that remains unbroken till today.
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JaMarcus Russell was the final recruit of the Louisiana State University in the 2003 season. However, in his freshman year, he redshirted, and by the 2005 season, he was the starting quarterback for the LSU Tigers.
In 2006, he continued playing as the starting quarterback at LSU and had a fairly productive season. The following year, he announced his decision to skip the final season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility to enter the 2007 NFL Draft.
In 2007, he signed a 6-year contract with the professional American football franchise Oakland Raiders. His first professional match was against the Denver Broncos in the same year. After his first season, he was named the starting quarterback of the 2008 season.
In the 2009 season, JaMarcus Russell was named the starter of the Raiders. However, due to his poor performance and fitness issues, his career at the NFL floundered, and he was released by the franchise in 2010. His contract was waivered, making him a free agent.
In the years that followed, there were announcements made by him that he was interested in returning to the NFL. Though he worked on his fitness levels and had appeared for tryout sessions with professional teams like the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens, he did not get any contract.
According to the opinion of experts, his career break of not having played professionally in the past seven years has diminished his chances of being signed by any NFL team.
His performance during his junior season as part of the Louisiana State University Tigers team earned him the title of Sugar Bowl MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 2007.
Family & Personal Life
JaMarcus Russell is the cousin of former Canadian footballer Robert Jordan.
In 2010, he was arrested for possession of an opiate, codeine syrup, without a valid prescription. Further investigations were conducted, and he was eventually bailed out.
In 2011, following his failure to pay mortgage payments, his mansion in Oakland fell into foreclosure. During this period, he was listed as one of the biggest income tax delinquents. He subsequently cleared his debts.