Seventh substance abuse infraction

Darrell Russell's release Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was preceded by a positive test last month for alcohol, a banned substance in the player's treatment program, according to NFL sources.

Russell is facing another indefinite suspension by commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Sources say the positive test approximately five weeks ago was his seventh infraction of the league's substance abuse policy since he was selected second overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 1997 draft.

Russell may be allowed to seek reinstatement after the eighth week of the 2004 season, but sources say the medical staff that oversees the substance abuse policy is still making determinations for a new course of treatment for him.

If Russell does seek reinstatement at midseason, it won't be warmly embraced by a skeptical Tagliabue, sources said.

The defensive tackle missed 1½ years while serving two league suspensions before he played in eight games in 2003 for the Washington Redskins.

Tampa Bay signed him in March, reuniting him with ex-Raider GM Bruce Allen and coach Jon Gruden, both now with the Buccaneers. The Bucs had placed several restrictions that could have prompted Russell's release, but he had complied with those restrictions until the positive test.

"If he has had a positive test, you'd have to check with the league, not me," Allen said.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined comment.

Russell could not be reached for comment.