Ex-No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell fired, accused of theft

League: NFL

Posted on: 29 Jun, 2024 at 03:55 PM

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JaMarcus Russell, the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, has been fired from his volunteer high school assistant coaching job and accused in a lawsuit of stealing donations meant for the school, according to multiple reports.

The firing apparently came several months ago but was just confirmed by school officials in Mobile County, Ala.

"JaMarcus Russell was relieved of his volunteer coaching duties at Williamson High School during the fall of last year," Mobile County Public Schools said in a statement tod WKRG Sports on Friday.

The former Oakland Raiders quarterback also is facing a lawsuit accusing him of taking a $74,000 check intended as a donation to the school -- his alma mater -- and keeping the money for himself.

According to reports, local business owner Chris Knowles said Russell approached him to help fund new weight room equipment for the school's football team. Knowles alleged Russell deposited the money into a credit union, immediately withdrawing $55,000 for himself.

Russell, 38, has now been ordered to stay away from the campus.

"Earlier this week, it was reiterated to Mr. Russell that he is not permitted to be around the football program or on school campus," the school district said in a statement to WKRG, after Russell reportedly showed up to a school football team event.

Russell played three seasons at LSU, where he threw for 6,625 yards and 52 touchdowns before signing a six-year deal with the Raiders worth close to $68 million.

However, Russell flopped in the NFL and is considered one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history. He appeared in 31 games (25 starts) over three seasons, finishing with a 52.1 percent completion rate, 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. His record was 7-18.

After he was released before the 2010 season, Russell and the Raiders spent the next several years in disputes over the contract, with the Raiders trying to recoup some of their losses. Ultimately the Raiders paid Russell $3 million in a 2013 settlement, making a total of approximately $40 million for Russell's three years of service.

--Field Level Media