Matt Millen advised Al Davis not to draft JaMarcus Russell in 2007

Monday February 23rd, 2015

ESPN broadcaster and former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen said in a radio interview that he warned former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis not to draft quarterback JaMarcus Russell in 2007.

Speaking on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, Millen, who was with the Lions in 2007, said a pre-draft visit with Russell prompted him to advise Davis against selecting Russell with the No. 1 overall pick. Millen played for the Raiders from 1980-88. 

Davis, who died in 2011, drafted Russell anyway. The former LSU quarterback spent only three seasons in the NFL.

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According to Millen, Russell struggled to pay attention during a pre-draft interview in his office during a visit to Detroit — which had the No. 2 pick that year — to the point where Millen kicked Russell out after he kept looking down at his watch.

"I keep talking to him, I ask him questions and he looks at his watch," Millen said. "I said, 'You got some place you need to be?' And he goes, 'Oh, no, no, no. I'm sorry. Sorry, sir.'

"So I ask him another question, he looks at his watch and I said, 'You're done, get out of here."

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Millen said he then told Russell to go to see head coach Rod Marinelli, who later also told Russell to leave his office.

"So I'm done, I can't believe what I just witnessed, and so I call Al [Davis]," Millen said.

"I get on the phone and I say, 'Coach, I don't know what you're thinking, but don't take JaMarcus Russell. Don't take Calvin Johnson, but don't take JaMarcus Russell."

After Millen said Davis was surprised, Millen told him, "Coach, the guy's a stiff. He couldn't pay attention for five minutes. He couldn't even pretend."

After the Raiders drafted Russell with the first pick, the Lions selected Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Millen said in the interview that if the Raiders had drafted Johnson, he would've selected Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.

Mike Fiammetta

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