Raiders address JaMarcus Russell issue

Hours after an Oakland Tribune columnist wrote about JaMarcus Russell and the role he thought the Raiders should have played in his life, the team came back with a rebuttal.

In a statement, the Raiders said they tried to help Russell in several areas of his life before he was cut in May. Russell, who Oakland took with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, was arrested at his Alabama home Monday and was later charged with possession of a controlled substance -- codeine syrup.

Here is the team’s statement:

We did all that we could to intervene and assist with a myriad of issues with JaMarcus Russell. NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time,” the statement said. “Therefore, those in the media who declare what the Raiders knew or should have known or what the Raiders did or should have done, are reckless, irresponsible and offensive and do a disservice to all concerned, including the public.

The Raiders were careful not to mention anything specific, but it is clear they want it known they were not wiling participants in any poor decisions Russell may have made. The Raiders have filed a grievance against Russell to get some of the money on his contract back. The gist of the statement will likely be part of the team’s argument against Russell.

  • In other AFC West news, a San Francisco Chronicle writer believes the Raiders should pursue receiver Plaxico Burress when he is eventually released from jail. My opinion? Oakland has been connected to Burress in the past. Let’s wait until he is out of jail before thinking about this pairing. A lot has to happen first.

  • The Denver Broncos claimed offensive lineman Kirk Barton off waivers from Detroit. He is 6-foot-6, 300 pounds and fits the mold of the big lineman Denver is looking for as the Broncos transitions to a power-blocking scheme. This will be the sixth NFL team for Barton, who entered the NFL in 2008.

  • The Chargers announced that several people will speak at Don Coryell’s public memorial Monday at San Diego State. The speakers include Dan Fouts, John Madden and Joe Gibbs. Coryell died last week at the age of 85.

  • Former San Diego star running back LaDainian Tomlinson and his wife had their first child. LaTorsha Tomlinson left the positive pregnancy test in Tomlinson’s San Diego locker last year on a game day and he had one of his better games of his final season with the Chargers.