Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell pleaded not guilty in Alabama state court on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, to a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance.
Russell was arrested on July 5 at his home in Mobile, AL and charged with possession of codeine syrup.
“We’re looking forward to the hearing on Aug. 11,” said Russell’s attorney, Donald Briskman. “I asked the court to set it early so we could get this behind us.”
“We fully expect he will be exonerated from these charges. That’s exactly how I feel. I’ve had an opportunity within the last week to get some additional information which bolsters my feeling that he’s ultimately going to be acquitted.”
“Be mindful of the fact that there were nearly a dozen people at the house when the sheriff conducted the investigation and raid,” WALA quoted Briskman as saying.
As for Russell’s plans in the meantime, Briskman said he would be “getting prepared to play professional football.”
JaMarcus Russell, former LSU student and football player, was the number one overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. He was released by the Oakland Raiders in May 2010 after winning just seven of his 25 starts over three seasons. After releasing Russell, the Raiders filed a grievance, seeking to recoup approximately $9.5 million of the $36.4 million that they paid the quarterback.
The New York Jets were rumored to be a potential new home for Russell before his arrest.
Codeine is reported to be a drug commonly abused by football players. Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly was suspended without pay for at least the 2010 football season by the NFL after being arrested for possession of codeine. Click here to read the story about Johnny Jolly’s suspension.