SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell ended his holdout by signing the richest rookie deal in NFL history on Wednesday then immediately joined his team mates on the practice field.
The top overall 2007 draft pick, Russell ended a tense negotiating battle by agreeing a six-year deal which U.S. media said was worth $61 million with a record $29 million guaranteed.
“It has been a long time and I am happy that everything is finally over and I get a chance to be a football player again,” Russell said on the Raiders Web site (www.raiders.com).
“I can’t wait to get out there to see everybody.”
Russell joins a team that has consistently ranked among the NFL’s worst offensively in recent years and lost its regular season opener to the Detroit Lions last Sunday.
Josh McCown was quarterback for that game and veteran Daunte Culpepper is expected to start against Denver Broncos on Sunday but Russell is likely to reclaim the position this season.
The 2007 Sugar Bowl MVP, Russell posted a 25-4 record as Louisiana State University’s starting quarterback throwing for 3,129 yards and 28 touchdowns last season.