Russell: Kiffin a good guy, good coach

JaMarcus Russell didn't watch the press conference announcing the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin, but he did hear about the controversial comment made by owner Al Davis. After sitting quietly for two days, Russell finally spoke out about the matter.

While his teammates dressed after practice and hurried out the door to enjoy a three-day break before resuming workouts next week, Russell spoke with reporters for the first time since Kiffin was fired.

It was during the Tuesday press conference that Davis, the team's 79-year-old owner, made the charge that Kiffin had been against the decision to draft Russell and that he told the coach to "get over it." But Russell said he never had any indication Kiffin didn't want him, adding the two men had a good working relationship.

"We always talked, joked around," Russell said Thursday. "It (Davis' claim) just kind of came out of nowhere. I really don't think myself or coach Kiffin or anybody else was looking for that to come out that way."

Davis tried to make it out to be a significant issue in his attempt to sway public opinion over why he fired Kiffin.

"Every day it was different, that's the thing," Davis said. "He didn't want Russell. At one time he wanted Brady Quinn. At one time he wanted Calvin Johnson. At one time (he wanted) to trade (the pick)."

But the Raiders owner failed to convince Russell, who said he was against the decision to fire Kiffin.

"I wasn't really looking forward to it happening but I don't have any control over that and just had to roll with it," Russell said. "That's not my choice. That was my head coach. I can't say anything bad about him."

Russell also defended the way Kiffin has handled him, saying the slow and cautious approach has benefited him.

"With the mistakes I made in the Jacksonville game (last season), if I had gotten out there early at the beginning of the season, things would have been flying a little faster for me and who's to say, I might have did a lot worse," Russell said. "I appreciate his time sitting me down. I learned a lot from it and once I got out there everything kind of slowed down for me.

"I appreciate the opportunity he gave me to play in the National Football League. I wish for him to go out and get a job because he's a good guy, a good coach. I don't look for him to sit around long; he should be able to get a job somewhere."

As for Davis claiming Kiffin didn't want to draft him, Russell shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn't sure whether to believe it or not.

"I don't know, I really don't," he said. "It really doesn't matter right now. It was said (by Davis). Can't do anything about it. It's done. You just move on. If it was to be true, it would just give me fuel to keep on going."

SB Report Top Stories