Matt Russell

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For the English footballer, see Matt Russell (footballer).
Matt Russell
No. 54
Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1973-07-05) July 5, 1973 (age 41)
Place of birth: Tokyo, Japan
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Belleville High School-East
Belleville, Illinois
College: Colorado
NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 130
Debuted in 1997 for the Detroit Lions
Last played in 1997 for the Detroit Lions
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Matthew Jason Russell (born July 5, 1973) is a former American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for a single season. He played college football for the University of Colorado, earned All-American honors and won the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in America. He played professionally for the NFL's Detroit Lions in 1997. He is currently the Director of Pro Scouting with the NFL's Denver Broncos.[1]

Early years[edit]

Russell was born in Tokyo, Japan.[2] He attended Belleville High School-East in Belleville, Illinois,[3] and played for the Belleville East Lancers high school football team.

College career[edit]

He attended the University of Colorado, where he played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 1993 to 1996. As a senior in 1996, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American and won the Butkus Award as the nation's best college linebacker.

Professional career[edit]

The Detroit Lions selected Russell in the fourth round (130th pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft,[4] and he played in fourteen regular season games for the Lions in 1997.[5] He was expected to compete for a starting linebacker position with Stephen Boyd following the departure of Pepper Johnson. In 1999, Russell injured his knee during the opening kickoff of the first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, and was lost for the season to injured reserve.[6] He had also suffered a season ending knee injury the year before. Knee injuries eventually forced him to retire after the 1999 season.

Post-playing career[edit]

While a member of the Detroit Lions, Russell befriended Lions scout Tom Dimitroff, who later worked for the Patriots and hired Russell as a scout for the Patriots.[7] Russell served as scout with the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots from 2001 to 2008.[1] Russell is credited for persuading Scott Pioli and the New England Patriots to draft Matt Cassel.[8] He was hired by the Broncos in 2009, and promoted to Director of Player Personnel in Jan 2012. On July 6, 2013, while celebrating his 40th birthday, Russell was arrested for DUI.[9] He was suspended indefinitely without pay by the Broncos, but was reinstated after 60 days. [10]

References[edit]