Former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell gets arrested. Not totally surprising, first offense or not.
Busted for possessing codeine syrup. Again, not stunning, considering rumors of such use accompanied his dumbfounding days (and nights) with the Raiders.
An undercover operation in his hometown of Mobile, Ala.? Now that is an interesting twist.
Traffic stops are pro athletes' more conventional route to the slammer. Russell never has been conventional, and now you have to wonder just how far down this depressing path his life is headed.
His football career is tarnished forever after he was bounced out of the league only three seasons after the desperate Raiders drafted him No. 1 overall out of Louisiana State.
Already a 24-year-old outcast, where is Russell going to be in 10 years, 15 years or, heck, next week? He is an unemployed quarterback, further ostracized from his golden goose that is the NFL.
If you think this is the wake-up call Russell needs to get back on track, you've not been paying enough attention to this slacker the Raiders cut two months ago. Hope for the best? OK, be compassionate. Just prepare for the alternative outcome.
His health concerns are no longer limited to questions of whether he is packing 300 pounds. Now everyone has a legitimate reason to wonder what goes into that overpaid frame. Now everyone should wonder if more comes out of this bust (drug bust, not draft bust) than a
Whispers about his lifestyle grew louder the worse he played in Oakland. And his play was legacy-defining bad during his 2009 farewell tour.
Sightings of him in nightclubs were not as alarming as rumors of him allegedly using "purple drank," a popular concoction in Russell's native South where prescription codeine syrup is mixed with soda and candy.
This would not be a harmless habit. Is it addiction?
ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada recently did an insightful, investigative report on codeine syrup's use among athletes, and one Houston narcotics officer noted that it can be a harder addiction to break than marijuana, cocaine or heroin.
"The high is not a euphoric high where you would think you'd be bouncing off the walls," officer John Kowal said in that "Outside The Lines" report. "It is more of a mellow, 'Hey, I'm going to take-the-edge-off type high and I'm going to lay back, I'm going to kick back, I'm just going to sip some syrup and everything is going to be right with the world.' "
Mellow? Russell? Absolutely. Always.
He may not be the Raiders' problem anymore, but he remains one of Oakland fans' most reviled athletes. That said, how much joy can be found in watching one man's spiraling demise?
More questions: If Russell does have a codeine-syrup habit, has he really had it since college? How much did the Raiders know about it? How did he not get caught earlier if it is on the NFL's list of banned substances? Who tipped off law enforcement? How might this help the Raiders recoup some of the $40 million they gave Russell? And, on a personal note, can he kick any addiction?
How typical: Russell always produces more questions than answers.
Let's see if Russell will take responsibility for any wrongdoing. He was not Mr. Accountable with the Raiders. You may recall his "I don't think it's me" response when I asked him last October to explain his lack of development.
Monday afternoon, law enforcement authorities raided his Mobile home with a search warrant. Instead of making an NFL comeback, he was making bail, at the tune of $2,500 (or 0.0068 percent of what the Raiders paid him, as CNBC's Darren Rovell quipped on Twitter).
The news also slammed shut the NFL as a starting point for his comeback. The New York Jets' minor flirtation last week? Ancient history. Pending legal woes compound the justified concerns about his work ethic and lifestyle.
The United Football League must be in play if Russell is interested in throwing a football for a living (a doubtful notion, unless it supplies him with more fur coats and diamond jewelry). Canada? That option must be jeopardized by Monday's arrest.
Instead of getting his picture taken in a new uniform, he is standing glum-faced in a police mug shot. His bald head almost reaches the 78-inch watermark. His eyes look as ho-hum as ever.
It is a familiar face of a clueless kid. Russell's fortune is dwindling. His fame is veering off in the wrong direction.