Still a Raider at Heart
By James Evans
On Monday, July 5, former Oakland Raiders’ Ryan Leaf impersonator JaMarcus Russell was arrested in Alabama on suspicion of possession of codeine syrup. Since it’s not a trunk-full of marijuana or a nose full of cocaine, many may be inquiring as to what the problem is. Well, codeine, while available by prescription, is also a key ingredient of many street cocktails, including the famous “purple syrup.”
Even though the number-one disappointment was cut back in May, this incident is quintessential “Oakland.” The Raiders have a propensity for picking up the bad seeds. And if JaMarcus could have played up to even a fraction of his potential, this arrest would have been front-page news as Russell would still be donning the silver and black.
One may say Russell’s forth-year elimination from Oakland was the driving force behind his syrup-drinking adventure. But one may be wrong. A betting man would place money on this being an ongoing addiction, and maybe the reason for his habitually poor performance with the Raiders.
Odds are better than online blackjack games—hell, even a coin toss—that Russell was sippin’ the sizz-urp during his playing days. How could one be so sure? The symptoms read like a bad player’s box score, minus the technicality of numbers.
For starters, the soda and the candy used to make the purple concoction is carb-loaded, causing weight gain. Russell, instead of shaping up, took to the field heavier in each of his NFL seasons. Sluggish body function follows, which could explain why Russell lost significant speed and mobility inexplicably from his time with LSU to his time with Oakland.
Last but not least, the purple syrup causes concentration difficulties. I know, I know. It’s the trifecta of Russell’s horrific performance, topped off by his curious loss of all accuracy once suiting up in the big leagues.
Russell admitting he was addicted to this intoxicating drink while playing with Oakland will probably never happen. The guy still wants a chance to play NFL ball somewhere. But if you had to bet on whether or not JaMarcus is addicted, your odds would be better than casino roulette – that’s for sure.
It’s hard to say what’s next for the down-and-out NFL player. But everyone knows one thing: if you continue to abuse your body, you’ll get nowhere as an athlete. And if you have run-ins with the law, the Commish is going to crack your head open. Al Davis giving you the boot will be the least of your worries.
Image courtesy of Icon SMI