Freeman: Russell may have used the syrup to ease the pain of being a bust

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders looks on against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Mike Freeman of CBS Sports writes that maybe the reason JaMarcus Russell used/drank codeine syrup was for relief of the criticism he often faced from the media and fans while playing in the NFL.

My experience covering the NFL for two decades is that players use drugs or their facsimiles for the same reason non-athletes do: for some sort of relief.

Russell was a bust, a terrible bust, and totally unprepared for the rigors of NFL life, but he was still human. Russell likely heard what was said about him by media and fans (much of it deserved). His plunge into eternal bust-dom might’ve led to Russell easing the pain with this cheap drink while believing the chances of getting caught were small.

“The subjective effects [of using codeine] are quite hard to describe beyond the word euphoria,” writes the site “The sedation associated with codeine is quite a lot less than that experienced with morphine or other stronger opiates. A strong feeling of contentment is usually also experienced. Most people enter a phase where you become quite content and tend to lose interest in their surroundings.”

Wouldn’t you want to lose interest in your surroundings if you played for the Raiders?

I couldn’t disagree more. I think Russell sipped on syrup because he’s a massive idiot and not because he sought some form of relief. Nobody should feel sorry for this clown, who made more money than most of us will make in a lifetime for doing nothing. He’s unmotivated, he’s lazy and he used his God-given talents to become rich. And while I’m the first to admit that I often refer to the Raiders’ organization as a “circus,” most fans would love the opportunity to play for a NFL franchise – any NFL franchise.

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