“I don’t want to beat a dead horse here," NFL Today panelist Boomer Esiason is quoted as saying, "but it’s come to my attention that (Russell) has been fined heavily already for being overweight and for being late to meetings. And, he’s already missed one meeting."
"I’m telling you right now," Esiason continued, "the other 52 guys on that roster are looking at Tom Cable. They’re looking at Al Davis, and they’re saying we deserve better than this."
None of the other 52 guys has responded to Esiason's alleged finding. When asked about it, Coach Cable told the Oakland Tribune, "I’m not going to talk about our internal stuff that way." And that's exactly what Coach Cable will say about every single Raiders' rumor he is ever asked about.
But Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune asked Russell straight up whether he'd missed or been late for meetings.
"I don’t have any truth to missing a lot of meetings," Russell told the the Tribune, which I guess means he's saying he has not. "I’m the guy that needs to be in there and know what it takes for the guys around, so I don’t really play into all of that.”
Had Russell been fined heavily, like Boomer Esiason says? "Not at all," Russell replied.
Had Russell actually missed a meeting, like Boomer Esiason says? "Ask Mike on the side," Russell replied, and gestured toward Raiders media relations director Mike Taylor.
Okay, that one was a non-denial. But the "not at all" is a specific denial, and Russell says he accepts that inaccurate information just happens to get floated around the NFL media.
"People have their own opinion and decide to say whatever it is they want,” Russell said. “ That’s those guys."
Those guys are on again this Sunday right before the Raiders-Giants game at 10 a.m. Pacific. Don't expect them to correct or retract anything they've already said about JaMarcus Russell.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who would point out that Boomer Esiason once got benched in favor of David Klingler.