Ex-No. 1 pick Russell fired as coach, faces suit

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Former No. 1 NFL draft pick JaMarcus Russell was fired as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Williamson High School in Mobile, Alabama, and is facing a lawsuit accusing him of taking a $74,000 check meant as a donation to the school.

“JaMarcus Russell was relieved of his volunteer coaching duties at Williamson High School during the fall of last year,” Mobile County Public School officials told WKRG Sports.

A local business owner, Chris Knowles, wrote the $74,000 check, saying Russell approached him about a donation to help the Williamson football team purchase weight room equipment. The school allegedly never received the check, and Russell reportedly deposited it in a credit union and promptly withdrew $55,000 of it.

In addition to being fired as a coach, Russell is also not allowed to be on the school’s campus, according to a statement from Mobile County Public School officials. Russell attended an event for the football team this week, but was told he was not welcome.

“Earlier this week, it was reiterated to Mr. Russell that he is not permitted to be around the football program or on school campus,” the school district said in a statement to WKRG.

Russell, 38, was a star quarterback at Williamson before going to college at LSU, where he threw for 6,625 yards and 52 touchdowns in three years before turning pro.

Russell was the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft and started 25 games for the Raiders over three seasons. He ended his NFL career with a 52.1% completion rate, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions and is regarded as perhaps the biggest NFL draft bust.

He earned more than $36.4 million in salary and bonuses during his NFL career.

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