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  • 2006 USC News

  • Darrell Russell (May 27, 1976 – December 15, 2005) was a two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders of the NFL who died in a car crash near Los Angeles after being indefinitely banned from the NFL for repeated violations of the league's substance abuse policy.

    He attended USC and was taken second overall in the 1997 NFL draft by the Raiders.

    He went on to have 28.5 career sacks. After making the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 1999, averaging 10 sacks per year, Russell was suspended four games in 2001 for failing to comply with the NFL's drug policy. Shortly after that, he tested positive for another banned substance and was slapped with a one-year suspension that later was made indefinite by the league.

    He was accused in 2002 of videotaping the rape of a woman — who had been drugged with GHB — by two friends, but prosecutors dropped the charges.

    Russell's positive drug test in 2004 was his seventh infraction of the league's policy. Russell missed 1½ years while serving two league suspensions before he played in eight games in 2003 for the Washington Redskins. His last NFL experience was in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp in 2004.

    On December 15, 2005, Russell was a passenger in a car driven by former USC teammate Michael Bastianelli when it veered out of control, hitting a curb, trees, a newsstand, a fire hydrant, a light pole and an unoccupied bus. Both men were found unconscious and taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.


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