Rich Gannon Can't Quit JaMarcus Russell

Sports commentator is making ripping the Raider a full-time hobby

By Joe Kukura
|  Friday, Feb 5, 2010  |  Updated 5:08 PM PDT
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Rich Gannon Can't Quit JaMarcus Russell

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Rich Gannon can't quit JaMarcus Russell.

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Move over, Warren Sapp. Cable TV sports has a new go-to guy for disparaging commentary about JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders.

Rich Gannon has had a busy Super Bowl week, between his almost non-stop presence on Sirius NFL Radio and on Thursday in separate interviews with the Chronicle and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Inevitably, Gannon gets asked about his souring relationship with the Raiders and about JaMarcus Russell. Gannon is becoming really, really good at criticizing them both.

"I think (Russell's) lost the confidence and the trust of the coaching staff, and I think he's lost some of the confidence and the trust of the players in the locker room," Gannon told Comcast SportsNet, in an interview available online wherein they gave Gannon a whole half-hour to just complain about the current state of the Raiders.

"He's got a lot of work to do just in terms of getting himself physically and mentally prepared, just for the off season program." Gannon said in a separate interview with the Chronicle, earlier the same day. "It's not OK anymore to come in 30 or 40 pounds overweight."

Remember also that Gannon approached the Raiders asking to tutor Russell right when the season ended. And this was after they already had tried to ban him from the team facility. Gannon's a stand-up guy, but he sure can't take a hint.

It's like Gannon thinks he's Ralph Nader and JaMarcus is the Ford Pinto. Gannon thinks we need a crusader to alarm people to some great societal wrong being purported by Russell's continuing ineffectiveness at quarterback. He can't let it go that his former team now has a bad signal-caller. Dan Marino doesn't go around publicly berating Chad Henne like this!

Gannon's criticisms are generally sane and accurate. But Gannon's level of emotional attachment is unusual. Plenty of guys have retired and gone into broadcasting. But they don't normally care so much if their former team has become lousy, or that the guy playing their old position isn't any good.

I would make a Captain Ahab and Moby Dick analogy, but that would just seem like a cheap joke about JaMarcus' weight.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose weight you will be able to joke about after his Super Bowl junk food binge this weekend.

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