ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders released former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell on Thursday, ending a three-year tenure marked by his high salary and unproductive play on the field.
Raiders senior executive John Herrera told The Associated Press about the move and said "we wish him well."
The decision came less than two weeks after the Raiders acquired Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins to take over at quarterback and signifies that team owner Al Davis finally lost patience with the immensely talented but unproductive player he drafted first overall in 2007 against former coach Lane Kiffin's wishes.
Russell showed up at last week's minicamp, saying he would keep coming to work until told otherwise. He looked decent in the first of five practices last weekend but received less work as the weekend went on, and the decision to cut ties was finally made.
The Raiders paid Russell more than $36 million through last season. They still owe him $3 million more, but they saved $6.45 million by not having him on the roster in 2010.
Davis believed Russell could turn the fortunes of his struggling franchise when he drafted him. Davis stood by Russell during his struggles, revealing when he fired Kiffin in 2008 that the coach didn't want the quarterback.
"He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field," Davis read from a letter he sent Kiffin before the firing. "That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team."
But the Raiders were unable to win with Russell at the helm, and Davis allowed Cable to bench the quarterback midway through last season. The move was popular in the locker room and gave the team a spark on the field as Bruce Gradkowski led the Raiders to comeback victories over the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Davis wasn't satisfied with Gradkowski as his standard bearer, and the Raiders were linked to possible offseason deals for Donovan McNabb and Ben Roethlisberger. While the Raiders downplayed how serious those talks ever got, they did make the move for another quarterback when they acquired Campbell from the Redskins for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick.
The Raiders showed confidence in Campbell by extending his contract through 2011, giving him a $4.5 million deal that season on top of the $3.14 million he's owed next season.
Lombardi: Russell indifferent
NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi, a former Raiders executive, offered his insight following the release of QB JaMarcus Russell.
"What I see in JaMarcus is indifference. I think it's the worst thing you can be, is indifferent about a sport. He just doesn't care about whether he's good or bad. There has to be an element of pride that comes into play here."
Russell won just seven of his 25 starts as the Raiders extended an NFL-worst streak to seven consecutive 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 rating of 65.2.
That means Russell has been paid more than $5 million per win, more than $2 million per touchdown pass and more than $100,000 per completion.
While Russell's numbers are superior to Leaf's, he was paid considerably more money to do it and was picked first instead of second. Leaf's rookie contract with the San Diego Chargers guaranteed him just $11.25 million.
Russell's tenure in Oakland had a rough start and never got much better. He held out his first season, not signing a contract until after the first game of the regular season. That made his rookie season almost a complete loss, as he started only one game.
Russell was fined by the Raiders 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. He completed 48.8 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 50.0 rating that was the lowest since Leaf, Bobby Hoying and Craig Whelihan all finished below 50 in 1998.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press