In this photo released by Mobile (Ala.) County Sheriff's Office shows JaMarcus Russell on Monday, July 5, 2010 in Mobile, Ala. Russell has been arrested on a drug charge in Alabama. Mobile County Sheriff's spokeswoman Lori Myles said the 24-year-old football player was arrested Monday, July 5, 2010, at his home during an undercover investigation. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance. (AP Photo/Mobile (Ala.) County Sheriff's Office )
Since the news of JaMarcus Russell's arrest for drug possession broke Monday, Raider Nation has been laughing it up over their former quarterback's career being ruined by "purple drank." After all, high-grade cough syrup mixed with 7-Up and Jolly Ranchers is not the typical drug of choice among millionaires.
While it may sound small-time, the arrest was actually part of a large undercover sting operation by the Mobile County (Alabama) Sheriff's Department. Russell was busted in his own home by undercover police who were posing as fellow codeine-sipping enthusiasts.
Mobile County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lori Myles told the Mobile Press-Register that Russell was arrested as part of an ongoing undercover sting operation. She would not indicate how much of the drug Russell was in possession of, nor would she say that Russell was the target of the investigation.
This arrest seems to extinguish what slim chance Russell had of playing with another NFL team this season. The only team with any interest in Russell, the New York Jets, told the New York Daily News that they are "no longer interested in the career underachiever."
While Russell is not currently on the Raiders' roster, he is still considered an active league player and could be subject to a possible NFL suspension.
"This is a very disappointing moment for all of us. It's not about football," JaMarcus' uncle and family spokesman, Dr. Albert Russell told Comcast SportsNet. "It's not about anything other than him becoming a better person."
Wait -- if your uncle is a doctor, can't get you just get him to write you a bogus prescription for recreational drugs? That's just common sense, man!
Russell was already involved in a sticky $9 million salary dispute with the Raiders. On his SF Chronicle Raiders blog, Vittorio Tafur comes right out and says what many are secretly wondering. "Did the cops get a hot tip from a guy wearing a white jump suit in Alameda?" Tafur writes. "Never underestimate the reach of Al Davis."
Why would Al Davis care what sort of misspelled regionally-popular recreational drugs JaMarcus is using? Because a drug suspension could hand the Raiders a $9 million victory in their favor.
ProFootballTalk.com looked into it, and reports that Russell's contract "contains language voiding future guaranteed base salaries in the wake of a suspension."
I would easily believe the conspiracy theory that Al Davis could have hired a private investigator to uncover a flaw in Russell's lifestyle, provided information to law enforcement, and then used it to get Russell's contract voided.
But to some of you, I know, that theory makes me sound like I've been drinking something purple for the last few hours.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who just named JaMarcus Russell's mug shot as his new all-time favorite celebrity mug shot.