"Once a great player" might be stretching it a bit, but clearly he's no longer near that level. And the reasons the Bucs gave for releasing Darrell
doesn't bode well for giving the the guy another chance.
General Manager Bruce Allen and Coach Jon Gruden had made it clear that Russell would be under heightened scrutiny after a checkered pro career that began with the Raiders in 1997 as a first-round pick out of Southern Cal.
``We had strict parameters for this young man, and those parameters were not met,'' Gruden said. ``We put in all these hurdles to test how much of a price Darrell was willing to pay. It's disappointing, because even before the relationship begins, the relationship is over.''
Gruden and Allen wouldn't specify what obligations Russell failed to live up to, but Allen denied any suggestion of illegal activity on Russell's part.
``You can rule that out - Darrell didn't break any laws,'' Allen said. ``But he didn't comply, and it didn't work out for him. It is what it is. You feel for the player because this was a second, third or fourth chance for him.''
Allen and Gruden are guys who scouted and coached Russell in Oakland. They gave him an opportunity in Tampa and he threw it away. Not to mention, the guy is in denial regarding the reason he was cut.
``This is all about Tampa Bay freeing up a position they felt they were stacked in,'' said Russell, who registered four tackles in eight games with the Redskins in 2003. ``Even though I had a rapport with Bruce, Coach Gruden and [defensive line coach] Rod Marinelli, I was competing against guys like Chuck Darby and Ellis Wyms, who had been in the program for years.
``It was strictly a business decision and a numbers game. They've got a bunch of other guys they have to cut before camp starts.''
Russell's a 2 time offender of the NFL drug policy, been dumped by the guys who know him best as a player, and doesn't believe he can compete with guys like Chuck Darby or Ellis Wyms (whoever they are). I'm confident in stating that the Texans won't get anywhere near Darrell Russell.