Face Drug Charge
An Alabama grand jury declined on Oct. 29 to indict former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell on a felony drug possession charge related to a drink containing codeine syrup found at his home, according to published reports.
Defense attorney Donald Briskman told The Associated Press that the prosecution office handling the Mobile County grand jury confirmed that no indictment was included with its report. He said that means the grand jury decided there was not sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.
He said Russell, right, was excited by the development and looks forward to returning to the National Football League.
"He's working out. I talked to his agent. That's always been the plan," Briskman told the AP. "This helps enormously."
Russell, 25, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, a drink containing codeine syrup, when Mobile County sheriff's officers raided his home July 5.
The defense contended the drink belonged to another person in Russell's home, where several people had gathered after the July Fourth holiday.
Marcus Stevenson, a longtime friend of Russell's, testified in a hearing that he made the drink. A sheriff's deputy, Johnny Thornton, testified the drink was in Russell's bedroom, appeared freshly poured and that Russell said it was Kool-Aid.
A prep star in Mobile who also was a standout at LSU, Russell was the No. 1 NFL draft choice in 2007 but released by Oakland after three disappointing seasons. He reportedly had been paid about $36.4 million through the 2009 season and was still owed $3 million at the time of his release May 6.
The Raiders reportedly filed a grievance seeking $9.55 million from Russell in what they say was paid as salary advances for the 2010-12 seasons.
Russell won only seven of his 25 starts as the Raiders extended an NFL-worst streak to seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses. He completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2.
Russell reportedly was fined last year for being overweight when he showed up at training camp. He then put together one of the worst seasons in recent memory for an NFL quarterback — completing 48.8 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 50.0 passer rating that was the lowest in 11 years.