For all those players on the crest of Raider greatness, there were also a few that fell in the trough. It is time to put together the list of those players that bring about shame when thinking of their impact on the Raider franchise. Those that the ‘Haters’ will always point to when they want to try and dig up some Raider skeletons.
Last week we put together a list of who we thought to be the greatest Raiders of all time. It turned out to cause a bit of controversy simply because the Raiders had so many great players, 15 was not a big enough number. That is a good problem to have.
This list was equally as difficult but for the opposite reason. Because though our memories are stained with some of the negative impacts certain players have had in their time in Silver and Black, there really weren’t that many that one could point to and say they brought shame upon the organization.
But with Patrick’s help, as well as quite a few Raider fans, I think I have come up with a list that will make you cringe and be none too appreciative for the reminder. Remember though, if we don’t learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Keep in mind, this is not a list of ‘biggest busts’. Priority is not where/whether they were drafted. This is about much more than simply not playing well.
15. Terdell Sands– Early on Sands seemed like a hidden gem when he joined the Raiders in 03 as an unknown. He really came on in 2006 when he had 30 tackles as part of what was statistically a top 5 defense. His play that year earned him a nice contract and he was given the starting right defensive tackle job in 07. But he would lose that starting job 11 games in only managing to rack up 17 tackles over the entire season. In 08, he was back to spot duty and the Raiders had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. He was released in the preseason last year and is now out of football. It appeared that he played well right up to the moment he put his pen to the contract in 07 and then became “Terd”.
14. LaMont Jordan– It was quite a coup when the Raiders grabbed LaMont Jordan as a free agent. He was highly sought after. He was the primary backup to Curtis Martin and Jordan was seen as the next breakout star– all he needed was a shot. The Raiders signed him to a fat contract and gave him that shot. Then he took that fat contract literal. He had one season over 1000 yards but he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry. It always seemed like his feet were in cement…or gravy. His disappointing play contributed to the drafting of Darren McFadden. So yeah, the Raiders are still feeling the residual effects of his ineffective play.
13. Chester McGlockton– McGlockton was a first round pick by the Raiders (16 overall) and, beginning in his third season, he went to four straight Pro Bowls as a Raider. But near the end of his final season with the Raiders, he thought he should get paid big money and he flat-out quit on the team. He wore his overcoat in practice and was quoted as telling Chief offensive linemen not to chop block him because he “would be one of them” soon. He eventually was released and did indeed sign with the Chiefs. Then he went on to play for the Broncos which made Raider fans hate him even more. However, after he left the Raiders, he would never make another Pro Bowl or amass anywhere near the kind of numbers he did during his time with the Raiders. Poetic justice if I ever saw it. I was pretty shocked to see him signing autographs at the Raider Nation Celebration as a “Raider Legend”. I wouldn’t have thought Al Davis would let him in the building.
12. Andre Rison– Formerly known as “Bad Moon” Rison, when Rison was a Pro Bowl receiver for the Falcons. Unfortunately, he left that nickname and the play that went with it in Atlanta. No sooner did he become a Raider but he was busted for fraud while trying to pass bad checks under the name “Brock Middlebrook.” The most boneheaded thing about this is just two weeks earlier he had been busted for obstruction of justice and tried using the same name. He was also a notorious deadbeat dad of many illigitimate kids. At one point he owed $1.5 million in back child support. Hence the check forging attempts.
11. DeAngelo Hall– One of the collossally worst trades and contracts in NFL history. The Raiders traded a high 2nd round pick to acquire Hall in 08. Then they signed him to one of the richest contracts ever given to a corner ($70 million). All the while, Nnamdi Asomugha was still without a new contract. Hall would be burnt nearly every time the ball was snapped. He would spend a total of 8 games with the Raiders during which time he made $8 million. After the Raiders cut him and their losses half way thru the season, he signed with the Redskins where he seems to be playing well. But he was a complete and utter disaster for the Raiders.
10. Bill Romanowski– He spent his career before his Raider years with the 49ers and Broncos– two of the most hated rivals of the Raiders. He was well known for carrying around a huge case of supplements with him everywhere and he once made a statement that many saw as racist when he said that he had to take them “to keep up with the black guys.” Well, we soon found out that ‘Romo’ had more than just vitamins in that case. The ‘rage’ he showed on the field should have been the first clue. Then there was the ‘rage’ he showed in Raider practice; ending the career of tight end Marcus Williams by punching Williams and nearly blinding him in one eye. Williams later sued Romanowski for the injuries he sustained.
9. Billy Joe Hobert– Hobert’s issues started before he was even in the NFL. He lost his college eligability at Washington when he committed an obvious NCAA violation by taking out a bank loan with the thinking that he could pay it back once he got an NFL contract (so hard to say that without a smirk). Even after the violiation, the Raiders drafted Hobert in the 3rd round– 60 picks ahead of his college teammate, Mark Brunell. He would spend four seasons with the Raiders, starting just 5 games total. Then he went on to the Bills where he had a golden opportunity to start until he publicly admitted he didn’t know the Bills’ playbook(seriously, he said that) and was cut. He had just 4 wins in his career in 17 games started.
8. Darrell Russell– Another example of wasted talent. Russell was an amazing talent when he was taken out of USC in 1997. He was a physical specimen and he came out of the gates to dominate immediately. He was an All-Pro in just his second year and made the Pro Bowl twice in 98 and 99. But after that, his production tailed off as he had just 5.5 sacks the next two years. He would start just 7 games in 2001 before he popped positive for marijuana. He was due for a suspension and the Raiders cut him. He would pop positive several more times and was suspended indefinitely from the NFL. One of the greatest examples of wasted talent in NFL history.
7. Jeff George– This was one of those guys that could drop back and throw a football from one end of the field to the other. The problem was that he was all too aware of his amazing physical gifts. He was notorious for his firey sideline shouting matches with coaches. It stamped his ticket out of Indianapolis and Atlanta. I remember thinking when I saw him play that I had never seen anyone with so much talent make so many stupid mistakes. It’s like Yogi Bera once said: “90% of the game is half mental.”
6. Jerry Porter– As long as the Raiders waited for this former 2nd round pick to develop, you would think he would have gathered something positive from the experience. But afterfour seasons of mediocrity, he finally had a decent season and instantly started showing his true colors. Not since Stephon Marbury has a player been in so many different coach’s doghouses. Gruden and Shell being the most public of those. He was released after his 2007 season and signed by the Jaguars to a big money contract. He did nothing in Jacksonville and they grew tired of him after one season. He has not shown up since then.
5. James Trapp-This guy was a personal foul waiting to happen. He was one of many attempts by the Raiders to fill the safety position. A position that saw a great many failures in the time since Tatum and Atkinson patrolled the middle of the field. Many were just bad– Trapp was a bad apple. I remember one particular play where he gave up a touchdown catch and he threw a tantrum and kicked the receiver in the stomach while he was on the ground. It is one thing to be a violent football player and intimidator. It is another to just be an A-hole.
4. Larry Brown– One of a many Al Davis signings that stemmed from a player winning Super Bowl MVP. And most definitely the worst. Larry Brown rode two gift wrapped interceptions from Steelers quarterback, Neil O’donnell to a Super Bowl MVP and a huge payday from the Raiders. Larry had quite the ego too. His next big moment of infame came when he made a cameo appearance on an episode of Married With Children. In the episode he basically admitted (tongue in cheek) that he had taken advantage of the Raiders and Al Davis. He played two seasons in Oakland, playing in only 12 games total and starting just ONE GAME. But, as Larry Brown said, “Just don’t tell Al Davis that(wink, wink, nudge, nudge)”.
3. Randy Moss– Came to Oakland in a trade that send the Raiders #7 overall pick in the 2005 draft and former first round linebacker Napoleon Harris to the Vikings. Moss was that superstar receiver the Raiders needed to replace Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. He was supposed to be the next great Raider wide receiver. After one decent season in Oakland, there were already signs that he was not happy. The Raider offense was the worst in the NFL in 2006 and he was frustrated. He took plays off and was noticeably discontent. Before he could come back for another season, he was shipped to New England for a measly 4th round pick. Then he proceeded to immediately become an All-Pro receiver again. Thanks for the memories you cancer of which a rolling stone would not gather.
2. Todd Marinovich– He was the second quarterback the Raiders had ever drafted in the first round. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal. Marinovich was the perfect Davis pick. Big arm quarterback out of Al Davis’ favorite big name school– USC. Not much can be said about Marinovich. He played 1 1/2 seasons with the Raiders before he was busted for Marijuana possession and never played another snap in the NFL. Earning the easy nickname “Marijuanavich”.
1. JaMarcus Russell– And so we come to the biggest, and by coincidence, the most recent shame upon the Raider franchise. For all the wastes of talent listed here and all the reasons for their squandered careers, JaMarcus trumps the lot. He was taken #1 overall, held out for a monstrous contract, ballooned up to the size of a lineman, spurned fans and media, had zero work ethic, showed up late and left early, and had a overall lackadaisical complacency about his football life that was like nothing I have ever seen. Not only was he a waste of talent, he was a waste of a lot of money and a waste of space…a lot of space. Now he is the current hot topic in NFL for his arrest on charges of possession of a controlled substance. That substance was so ghetto fabulous it was an utter certainty that good ole JaWalrus was going to be into it. An illegal Codeine mixture with soda and Jolly Ranchers. Hillarious. Sure, he is not the Raiders problem anymore but his name will forever be synonimous with the Raiders. He was already the biggest bust in Raider history. Now he is being tabbed as topping Ryan Leaf as the biggest bust in NFL history.
Need some better news? Check out our list of the top 15 greatest Raiders of all time