Did Russell ditch Raiders for Las Vegas?

Beat writer David White of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting “someone using the name JaMarcus Russell checked into The Palms in Las Vegas” the day after Russell was excused from a team meeting for “personal reasons.”

White notes that this could potentially save Tom Cable’s job in Oakland.

Russell is believed to be the major sticking point between Cable, who benched Russell after nine games, and Davis, who preaches patience for his prized No. 1 overall draft pick.

Russell has been criticized by Cable publicly, and teammates privately, for not working hard enough off the field. The reason reporters knew about Russell’s absence Monday was because of a tip from a teammate in the locker room who couldn’t hide his disgust.

Cable can take Russell’s Vegas-over-team trip to show Davis the extent of his disconnect from the rest of the team. Maybe Davis will see Cable handled Russell the right way all along, that his struggles were about more than Xs and Os.

That, or Davis says about Russell what he said about Randy Moss in September — that the Raiders failed him. If that’s his stance, then yeah, Cable is gone.

If Davis choices Russell over Cable it would be a colossal mistake. Russell will never live up to his lofty expectations because he’s not prepared to put in the work. Furthermore, he doesn’t have the overall talent. (It takes more than a strong arm to be a quarterback in the NFL, which he has proven time and time again.)

If this rumor/report (not sure what to call it) is true, then Russell should be released immediately. I don’t know how much proof Davis needs to unload that gigantic bust. That said, maybe Russell really did have a “personal” issue to attend to, so we’ll just have to wait and see if more details emerge.

I don’t want to make Cable out to be Vince Lombardi, but he proved this season that he’s capable of winning games. With Russell on the bench, the Raiders showed promise down the stretch and actually fought hard under Cable. He wasn’t Oakland’s biggest problem this season and deserves a shot to see what he can do without worrying about Russell infecting the team with his horrible play.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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