Troubled Raiders defensive tackle Russell reinstated by NFL

Updated: October 28, 2003, 3:21 AM ET

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Darrell Russell has been cleared to play in the NFL again after serving a 1{-season suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. But that doesn't mean the troubled Raiders defensive tackle has a future in Oakland.

During the offseason, Coach Bill Callahan said the Raiders were moving on without Russell, who had rape charges against him dropped in September 2002. And Callahan has said he has no interest in having Russell back on the team.

"I'm on record as saying so," Callahan said Monday, when the NFL reinstated Russell. Callahan wouldn't elaborate further.

The Raiders have been working out several players in recent days and have a roster spot to fill because linebacker Bill Romanowski was placed on injured reserve Thursday after a series of concussions.

NFL spokesman Steve Alic confirmed that Russell, a two-time Pro Bowler, had been reinstated.

Russell tested positive for the drug Ecstasy and sat out the first four games of the 2001 season.

Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen wasn't available for comment Monday. Russell's agent, Leigh Steinberg, didn't immediately return calls for comment.

The Washington Post reported that the Washington Redskins had done a background check on Russell and were satisfied they could sign him. The Redskins are in need of defensive tackles.

Russell, a former No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft who had 28{ sacks in five seasons with the Raiders, was eligible for reinstatement in January, but had the suspension extended by three months because commissioner Paul Tagliabue wasn't satisfied with his off-field behavior.

The NFL does not disclose details of substance-abuse violations. Its policy covers a wide range of issues, including the illegal use of drugs and the abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs.

Last fall, prosecutors dropped their case against Russell, claiming they could not prove he videotaped a woman being raped by two of his friends.

Russell also had been charged with drugging the 28-year-old woman with the "date-rape drug" GHB at a San Francisco night club in January 2002. Russell was accused of holding a video camera and not intervening while his friends raped the woman.

Russell was charged with 25 felonies as an accomplice in the alleged attack at the home of one of Russell's teammates, safety Eric Johnson. Police seized a videotape during the search of the home.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index