Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

May 27, 2010
Raiders want $9.55 million back from Russell? Good luck with that

Last week, coach Tom Cable said the Raiders had moved beyond the JaMarcus Russell Era and urged assembled media members to do the same.

"Let's not talk about someone who is not on our team anymore," Cable said on May 19. "It's done, it's over and we have to move forward."

Seems someone didn't get the memo.

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According to Yahoo! Sports, the Raiders have filed a grievance against Russell, seeking repayment of $9.55 million in salary.

"We have filed a grievance against JaMarcus Russell and that's all we're going to say at this time," Raiders attorney Jeff Birren told the web site.

The report said the grievance is "based on the contention by the Raiders that the contract was changed at one point" during Russell's three-year stay and, thus, is not allowed to keep all the money he had collected before being released on May 7.

As the No. 1 pick of the 2007 draft out of LSU, Russell was guaranteed $32 million in his six-year, $68-million contract. Some reports have Russell already pocketing at least $39 million.

Remember Russell's lengthy holdout that did not end until after the first game of his rookie season? It was thought at the time that the major sticking point was guaranteed money. And according to the report, a portion of the guaranteed $32 million was "originally" in salary advances for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. Does it add up to $9.55 million?

"The money in question was fully guaranteed," Eric Metz, one of Russell's two agents, told Yahoo! "That is why JaMarcus was forced to hold out and miss all of training camp as a rookie. The Raiders know that and this is our only comment."

The NFL Players Association will represent the currently-unemployed Russell in the grievance, the report said.

Rumors have abounded on the reasons for Russell's lack of work ethic and his off-field behavior. Be sure that more fodder for the rumor mill will be spit out in the coming weeks and months, or however long this case takes. Because remember, Al Davis is still at odds over money owed with both Mike Shanahan (since 1989) and Lane Kiffin (since 2008).

The Raiders should hope this does not overshadow what has been nothing but a positive offseason.

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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