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Brian Russell
No. 27, 25, 26
Personal information
Born: (1978-02-05) February 5, 1978 (age 41)
West Covina, California
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Bishop Amat Memorial
(La Puente, California)
College:San Diego State
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Brian William Russell (born February 5, 1978) is a former American football safety who played nine seasons in the NFL from 2001 to 2009. He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2001 and last played for the Houston Texans. He played college football at The University of Pennsylvania and San Diego State University.

Russell has also played for the Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ It's Our Community - Dr. Brian Russell
  • ✪ Forging on the River - Brian Russell - Pre Conference Trailer


[music] <Mary Davidson> Welcome. "It's Our Community", I'm Mary Davidson, and you are just - I'm delighted to have you, as always. My guest today is Brian Russell. I don't know whether to say "Brian Russell, Esquire", "Dr. Brian Russell", or businessman, or TV host. He's all of those things. He is a most interesting person . What we're going to discuss today is the fact that he's an author, and he wrote a book called "Stop Moaning, and Start Owning". There are a lot of good rules here, but if you want a lot to think about, then you might want to get a copy of this book, I have to read that, "How entitlement", he says, "is ruining America", and how personal responsibility can fix it. I know there a lot of us sitting here, looking listening and watching, that agree with you, Brian. Brian's theory is, "Life is what you make it, not what you can get others to provide you". Would you comment? <Brian Russell> First of all thank you very much for having me, and it's a perfect time for us to be discussing this, because really, at the core of it is what we're discussing as a country, right now. What ought to be our philosophy about what we can expect in life, and where we can expect to get those things from? <Mary> I would present to you that nothing occurs in a vacuum. Everything is really related, if one takes a little time to see where that overlap does come. Now, there's a lot of information in this book. What I've tried to do is take words or phrases that I picked out of the book, and ask you to elicidate, further. So, I'll tell you, I've been to Weight Watchers for many years. What they say is: "You can blame fat on your mother or father being fat. I'm fat. Poor me. I'm just fat", or you can say, "I'm fat, because I eat too much". Personal responsibility. Because I've taken that responsibility, I can then begin to lose weight. You talk about that in a little different context, but how does that apply? <Brian> Weight is a greate example, because when somebody takes personal responsibility for his or her weight, it's never an enjoyable thing to do. It's never enjoyable to look in the mirror, and say "I have more pounds than I should, because of choices that I've made." But, there's a paradox about this, which is when you take personal responsibility, as difficult as it is, it's also empowering you, then, to make different choices, and arrive at a different outcome. You go through life convincing yourself that the circumstances you don't like are things that are beyond your control, then it might feel good in the moment, in the sense that you don't have to blame yourself. But, it really makes you be stuck, because it's very disempowering. If it was caused by something outside of you, then you really don't have a way to fix it. <Mary> Nope, you just sit and feel sorry for yourself. You also talk in a book about personal responsibility drifting toward entitlement, "I am owed". Like a lack of self-control. As a society, we're over-medicated. That's bad stuff. <Brian> Just as you said, people will blame weight on heredity, or a disease. People will blame all kinds of bad behavior in kids on a medical condition, like Attention- Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They'll go to the doctor, and try to get a quick fix in the form of a prescription, when really what the child's behavior ought to suggest to the parent first, is that maybe we don't have enough structure and discipline around here, and maybe what we're doing, if we basically sedate this kid, we're sweeping the problem under the rug, that is going to come out in other ways. We're actually doing a disservice to the child, if we could make all of the difference or big part of the difference that needs to be made, with some more structure and discipline. <Mary> In some place in the book, I'm not quite sure where it is, you make the statement that, "People, children and adults need to hear the word 'no'." <Brian> Absolutely. There's a story in a book about one of the "Desperate Housewives" in real life. The actress has a little girl, and she said in an interview a couple of years ago, that she was going to eliminate the word "no" from her parenting lexicon, because she just felt so bad saying "no" so many times to the little girl. I saw that, and I just threw up my hands, because as a psychologist, I'm thinking, "As a parent, that's one of the most important things that you do. You have to say "no" a lot, because kids want to do a lot of things, that are not good for them in the long run. They're short-term, immediate, self-gratification thinkers, and we have too many adults thinking that way, precisely because in large part, they didn't get enough parental structure,discipline and guidance, which comes in the form of "no", a lot of times. If you're not saying "no". you're not doing your job as a parent. <Mary> I used to say, "John, if you do that one more time, I'm going to mash you!" He asked me one time, "Would you real ly do that?", and I said, "Just watch me!" I also think there's another side to this "no" business, and that comes from the medical profession. I think they're too quick to prescribe a quick fix. There are a lot of people that are addicted to painkillers. That's just one, and that leads to other things. I think we all share responsibility in this matter. But, entitlement is eating us alive. <Brian> You're absolutely right about the whole care professions not helping,when they are quick to try to please somebody, and give them what they come in the door wanting, even when it's not necessarily the best thing for them. You see that a lot with celebrities like Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith, getting things that they should not have gotten from their health care providers. But that is happening, all they want all across the country with all kinds of patients who are not famous, and will never hear about. Just like when we seeing celebrities getting in trouble with the legal system. My legal colleagues are not doing much better for people than some of my health care colleagues, in this regard, because you see celebrities getting slapped on the wrist, over and over again. <Mary> We can get you out of this! <Brian> You may think it's because they're famous, or rich. It's not. That same thing is going on all across the country, every day, with all kinds of criminal suspects. You'll never know who they are, but they're doing just that same damage, and they're getting that same slap on the wrist. <Mary> You also talk a lot about or society being rather narcissistic. What you said was, "In the narcissists of today, the media is the reflecting pool of choice." <Brian> The root of that word, "narcissist", is Narcissus, who is a character from mythology, who fell in love with his reflection. <Mary> When he saw it in the water, he thought it was just wonderful. <Brian> I said in the book that if narcissists lived today the reflecting pool would be social media. Rather than being an actual pool where he actually looked and saw his reflection, it would be the image of himself that he created. I think it's something that is a little bit dangerous about social media. People can make themselves out to be, not just to others, but to themselves, whatever they wish they were. They can actually surround themselves by enough reinforcing images of that, and meaningless, not so real "friendships" that feed into it, that they can convince themselves that they're a bunch of things they're not. There are a number of reasons why I'm concerned about social media. It's nice that we have an ability to connect with more people in more places than any human beings have ever lived before us, But, there are downsides to it,and parents especially need to watch it, with kids. <Mary> What happens when this catches up with people? Is it ever going to? Is the day going to come, when they look to themselves, and they say "Oh, my!" And then, boom. <Brian> I think it is. There was a study done, earlier this year or late last year, that found that people who have tons and tons of "friends" in social media tend to be soem of the more depressed people. It's probably because they spent so much time living in that virtual world. Deep down, they know it's not real. They know those aren't real connections. There's no depth to them. <Mary> They've proabbly never seen the people. They probably don't know who they are. <Brian> You've pointed out something else that's important. Because the book is about entitlement, and personal responsibility, the personality trait that's at the root of entitlement is narcissism. It is the sense that one is special, and because of that, one is entitled or owed things by others, and doesn't owe them anything back . There doesn't have do be any reciprocity. One "deserves" to have things given to them by other people. It's a very dangerous personality trait, because it gives rise to those entitlement attitudes, which gives rise to all kinds of entitled behaviors. <Mary> Everyone wants to be happy. Back to the social media, quickly. I fly under the radar. I don't like anybody on Facebook. I don't want anybody to notice that I'm there. I just delete that stuff. LinkedIn, I don't do that, either. I just don't do it. But, let's go back to the "happy", after we get through talking about my peculiarity. Everybody wants to be happy. I'm not sure what "happy" is. I know what "contented" is. I know what "free from worry" is. I don't think anybody is free from worry. I know what "Being OK" is, but I'm not sure what "happy" is. <Brian> I think we all want to be happy. At least we all say we do, unless one's depressed. We want to be happy. It's right in our founding document, that we have the right to "the pursut of happiness". The problem is that a lot of people pursue it in a way that is unlikely to ever get them there, because they define it wrong. Then, they take it a step further, and they expect not only to pursue it, but they expect to attain it, and have that handed to them by others, if necessary. So I think, first and foremost, people have to define "happiness" correctly. It's not an end state. It's not something you pursue, like you're hunting game that's trying to elude you. It's a by-product of finding the meaning in your life, of figuring out what it is that you can do to make a uniquely positive contribution to something larger than yourself, and in doing that, you get happy. <Mary> That's right. We don't go around, saying "zippety-doo-dah" all the time. <Brian> Somebody can't hand you that. You have to find that. <Mary> Well, no. And, you make a remark in the book, that there are people who want to pick and choose the road to happiness, instead of picking something, and working hard to attain ... I like the word "satisfaction", better, to attain the satisfaction of a job well done. But, they want to pick and choosem and have somebody give them something. <Brian> It may sound like satisfaction, and maybe the way you're using "satisfaction" is sort of synonymous with meaning. I talk in the book about finding meaning, and getting to the happiness as a by-product of the meaning. I think that a lot of celebrities... there are so many cases. You can go back to Sid Vicious, or you can look at Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, or Heath Ledger. There were people who seemed to have it all. They seemed to have everything everybody wants. Everybody wanted to be around them, sleep with them, they had lots of money, and could get anything they wanted. Yet, they still ended up just profoundly unhappy. I think it's because they've chased after happiness at the bottom of a liquor bottle, a pill bottle, in sex, in possessions, as an end state. Then, they finally get all of those things that they thought were going to get them the happiness, but they become profoundly depressed, when they realize that they still aren't happy despite all of that. They become despondent, because they don't have any idea how they're ever going to achieve it, if all of that stuff doesn't get you there. <Mary> There are a couple of other things that I think are going on, too. They listen to what all the sycophants around them have to tell them. They listen, and they believe it. They cannot separate their professional life from who they really are. So, they become this fantasy of who they think they are, and the public thinks they are. It does not work. <Brian> I think the saddest thing about those cases is that those people really do a lot of good in the world. They create a little bit of happiness for a lot of people, through their music, their movies, and their TV shows, their sports, whatever they do. I think it's sad, when somebody who actually does do meaningful things, could find meaning in their lives, and have the satisfaction that you're talking about, is so focused on finding that happiness, attaining that happiness in all these other ways, that they never experienced the meaning. <Mary> You talk about how - I'm not sure if I can explain exactly as you do - when someboy is traumatized in a disaster of some sort, they can either say "Why did God do this to me?" or "God doesn't care about me"; or - I don't know. But, I find the concept of God is a very powerful grief antidote. It is, if you don't overuse it. Maybe, that's what it is. But, you said, "The answer to the question, 'What is the purpose of our lives?' In other words, 'Where is God?'" You say "to relate to our creator". Why do you think that? We have to discuss that. <Brian> I had tried two but think about these things in an intellectual way. I'm sort of nondenominational in that regard. What makes sense to me, is if you had the ability to create everything and anything, what would make sense to me of something that can relate to you. You can create all kinds of beauty, view the flowers, beautiful vistas and mountains, bodies of water and everything like that. But, those things couldn't relate to you, so it would make sense to me that one would want to create something that could actually understand, relate, and appreciate all of those other things that you've done. I'm trying to understand this with a human mind, when it's really beyond us. It's like asking a baby to try to explain the ocean to you, that they can understand it at a very rudimentary level. <Mary> They'd say, "just because". <Brian> So I think if our purpose is to figure out how we can relate to our creator, then we have to do a couple things in life. We have to care about one another, because there's certainly that benevolent aspect. I think there's a plan and I think it's a benevolent plan, and so we have to relate to that by caring about each other, and wanting good things for each other, just like what I think our creator wants for us; I think we also have to try to create, ourselves, in life, by figuring out what is it that we've been given that enables us to make a uniquely positive contribution to the world, and then to go out and develop the skills, talents and abilities, and make that contribution doing that, I think we understand a little bit of what God is like, because we are creating that. We're caring and creating. We're doing the two things that God does. <Mary> The caring and creating, in my mind, somewhat overshadows the problem of access to excess. Because, if you're worried about caring and creating, you're less worried about access and excess. <Brian> What you're talking about is something - I think I coined the phrase. <Mary> That's yours, yes. <Brian> A few years ago, in an interview that I did on Fox. It was about whether I thought there was any connection between individual Americans expanding waistlines and their expanding debt. I talked about the fact that I think one of the sort of inevitable downsides to a prolonged period of prosperity in any society, like we've had here in this society, is that so many people, for so many years, have had so many more things than just what they need. They've had access to eccess for a really long time, so excess started to feel "normal" to them. When they don't have excess, they feel deprived, as opposed to feeling grateful. You should feel gratitude for every single thing you have, that's beyond what you need. <Mary> Exactly. You quited one of my favorites from Shakespeare: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves". I think it's true. I think that there are a whole raft of parents' roles in owning schools, friends, and judgment calls. There is victim or control. You have "Russell's Silver Rule", when you say, "Quit moaning, and start owning". Would you enlighten us as to "Russel's Silver Rule"? <Brian> Absolutely. Because the Golden one is taken, I would not try to usurp that, so I made it the Silver Rule. The silver role is: "You don't get less of a behavior, by making it easier to do." So, if you have a kid who's doing something that's not in their best interest, or you have an adult who's getting too heavy, borrowing too much money, committing crimes, or whatever, you're never going to get less of that behavior by making it easier to do. It's the basic premise of behaviorism in psychology: If you've got an undesirable behavior,the way that get less of it is you make it harder to do. And yet, with the criminal justice system, as I said earlier, and we seem to make it easier to do more and more destructive stuff , before you're really facing serious consequences. Some of my colleagues in law seem to make it easier to not take responsibility for your circumstances. <Mary> But, that's what they're paid for. <Brian> They're paid to help you find somebody else to blame. There's a whole story in the book about this couple that overextended themselves on a home that they had no business buying, and defaulted on the home loan. The lender is trying to get a hold of them, so that they can work with them on trying to figure out how to not to foreclosed. They ignore the calls for years, and the lender still hasn't foreclosed on the home. What they turn around and do is sued the bank for harassing them, for calling them so many times to try to get its money back, that they never should have borrowed. There's an example of my colleagues in the legal profession actually making it easier for people not to take responsibility, and some of my colleagues in the health care profession are doing that, calling obesity and disease, giving parents ADD pills, before can even be sure that the problem couldn't be solved with more structure and discipline, "dedicating, as opposed to medicating" as I said in the book. <Mary> You talk about consequences. There have to be some consequences. I have always thought this myself: to everything you do in life, there's a cost, there's a price to pay. I always think of the worst thing that could possibly happen to me, if I do "X" . If I can handle it, then I go on. If I can't handle it, I back off. But, I think about the consequences before I start, not halfway down the road, nor at the end. I know, just like you know, there is always a price to be paid, and a consequence. Sometimes, it's positive. It doesn't always have to be negative. A price to be paid, and a consequence to come. <Brian> What you just said actually shows a couple of really nice things about you. One is you care about the impact of your actions on others. It means something to you, if the actions that you undertake help other people, or hurt them. That's fundamentally important for somebody who is personally responsible. Then the other thing, is you're future-oriented. You're somebody who thinks down the road about the downstream repercussions of the choices that you make, and you are willing to delay gratification, if there's a greater reward, or there's something better to be attained by waiting, than by acting, right now. <Mary> I can't swim. [laughs] So, I have to think ahead, a little, so I don't get thrown in. <Brian> There's a lot in the book, about it. There's a whole section a book about Walter Mischel's "marshmallow test", Earlier in his career, he did these famous experiments, where he had kids in a situation, where they can have a little treat immediately, or if they could let that treat sit there in front of them, and wait to enjoy it, they could double their treat, or have a bigger, better one, fifteen minutes later. It's amazing, and are the stats are in the book book. All of the things that that predicts about what those kids would be like, later on. The kids who couldn't or wouldn't delay the gratification had lower test scores, lower incomes, more divorce, and longer criminal records, everything you wouldn't want; but, the kids who were the ones who were willing to delay gratification were the opposite. <Mary> When I want to be annoyed, I go have the car washed. When I look at the kids who drive the car, I wonder" Which ones would I hire?" Usually it's "none of them", because they dont' want to bend their knees, and stretch their arms to clean on top, or the bottom. You talk about the power of accountability, too, and you have a prescription for personal prosperity. Will you talk about that? Because, I thought it was really good. <Brian> I think this is really important for people to understand, because we're hearing so much in this election cycle that we're in "People are doing well, because other people are doing well", That isn't it. Usually, the vast majority of people that aren't doing well aren't doing well, because of choices they've made. If you looked at four particular choices, and those are: committing crimes, dropping out of school getting addicted to one or more substances and having children out of wedlock, If you just avoided those four behaviors, and you were an able-minded. able-bodied adult in this country, your statistical chances of living in poverty for any sustained period of time - anybody can have a layoff, or something, but that for any sustained period time are infinitesimally low. Try to find somebody who has been languishing, an able-minded, able-bodied adult, languishing in poverty circumstances in the United States, for a sustained period time who has not done any of those four things, you can find them, but they're few and far between. Most people aspire to more than not being in poverty. They aspire to prosper. If, in addition to avoiding those four behaviors I've just listed, the person would also delay gratification; take personal responsibility for meeting his or her own needs and wants, not expecting anybody else to do that for them; being accountable, doing what they say they're gonna do, and if they don't for any reason, owning up to and fixing it as best they can, as quickly as they can; and latstly, figuring out what that uniquely positive contribution is that they can make to something larger than themselves. If they would do those four things, on top of the four "don't s" that I listed previously, their chances of not prospering in this country would be infinitesimally low. It doesn't mean they'll be wealthy. It doesn't mean they'll have a Mercedes or a jet. "Prospering", meaning they've got all their needs met, a lot of "wants" met on top of that, and not only theirs, but their dependents. <Mary> And maybe that, my dear friend, is "happiness". See, that's what I think. This has been really interesting, Brian. We have to thank Brian Russell for being kind enough to give us some time, and talk about "Stop Moaning, and Start Owning". I think you'll enjoy reading it. He has some wonderful quotes in the book, and I'm going to borrow one, by Albert Ellis. Albert Ellis said, "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide that your problems are all your own. You do not blame them on mother, the ecology, or the President. You realize that you control your own destiny." Isn't that for sure? We are the masters of our ship. <Brian> That's right. <Mary> So, with that in mind, thanks for being with us. "It's Our Community", and I am always so pleased that you come to visit. <Brian> Thank you, so much. <Mary> Thank you, Brian. Thank you. [music]


Early days

Russell played at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, California. His team won the Del Rey League championship in 1993, 1994, and 1995. As a senior quarterback, he led the team to the 1995 CIF Division I title. He was named All-Del Rey League and was awarded MVP honors at the annual East-West All-Star Game.

He was recruited and spent his freshman season (1996) at Penn, where he became the first quarterback in the history of the school to start as a freshman. He played in 10 games (starting two); he finished the season with 27 completions in 43 attempts for 320 yards, with four touchdowns and four interceptions. However, Russell wanted to play at the Division I-A level. He was offered a scholarship at  San Diego State University (SDSU) to play for coach Ted Tollner and the Aztecs.

College career

Russell redshirted during the 1997 season. He took over as San Diego State's starting quarterback in the second game of the 1998 season (replacing injured starter Spencer Brinton). Russell quarterbacked the Aztecs the rest of the season and led them to the Las Vegas Bowl, the school's first bowl appearance in seven seasons. Notably, he totaled five rushing touchdowns in the season, the most by an SDSU quarterback since 1981.

Russell began the 1999 year as the team's starting QB but was asked to switch to safety, a natural fit for his skill set, allowing JUCO transfer Jack Hawley to assume QB responsibilities. Because of his excellent athleticism, Russell immediately became the starter at free safety where he played alongside safety Will Demps. In his first game as a defender, he made 10 tackles, including three straight solo stops. His senior season (2000) was solid, he made 68 tackles (41 solo), recovered two fumbles, and intercepted one pass. For his efforts, he was named All-Mountain West Conference.

Professional career

Minnesota Vikings

After going undrafted in the 2001 NFL Draft, Russell signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. He spent the entire 2001 season on the team's practice squad. Head coach Dennis Green considered cutting Russell, but defensive coordinator Willie Shaw convinced Green to give Russell a chance to play. Russell played mostly special teams in 2002, but did see enough action at strong safety to make his first career interception (against the Chicago Bears in his first career start).

In 2003, Russell became a full-time starter and recorded an interception in each of Minnesota's first six games. He finished the regular season with nine interceptions, tied for the most in the NFL with Tony Parrish. His best game of the season was against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he tied a team record with three takeaways (two interceptions and the first fumble recovery of his career).

In 2004, Russell moved to free safety. He started all 16 games for the second consecutive season and recorded one interception in the regular season and another in the playoffs. Russell set a new career high with 111 tackles, and the Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC playoffs before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cleveland Browns

Russell joined the Cleveland Browns as a restricted free agent in 2005. Russell was targeted by coach Romeo Crennel in free agency to solidify a young secondary. He became a defensive leader and the signal caller for a unit that finished 2nd in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 5th in points allowed.[1] For the third straight season, he started all 16 regular season games. He finished with 70 tackles and three interceptions. His season was shortened due to injury the following year (2006); he totaled 51 tackles and one interception in 12 games before an elbow injury forced the Browns to place him on injured reserve.

Seattle Seahawks

In 2007, Russell signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent. Head coach Mike Holmgren said that he wanted Russell to be the "quarterback of the defense" for his team. Russell made 68 tackles and added an interception in 16 starts in 2007 as part of a secondary that allowed the fewest touchdown passes in franchise history.[2] Russell again started 16 games in 2008, marking the 5th time in his career to start every contest. On September 5, 2009 the Seahawks released Russell.[3]

Jacksonville Jaguars

Russell signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 8, 2009. Russell and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker were reunited after spending two previous seasons together (2005-2006) as members of the Cleveland Browns. Russell was released on November 21.

Houston Texans

Russell was signed by the Houston Texans on November 25. He was waived on December 22 when the team re-signed offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam. Russell was re-signed on December 29. Brian Russell's last NFL game was played on January 3, 2010 when he helped the Texans secure their first winning season by beating the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium.

Personal life

Russell's wife, Leslie, is a former All-American track athlete who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympic trials. Russell attended the University of Washington Foster School of Business after retiring from the NFL to pursue a master's degree in business administration.[4] Brian and Leslie Russell have three children.[5]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "Seahawks Make Roster Moves". Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  4. ^ Former NFL Football Player Tackles a Foster MBA
  5. ^ Seattle Seahawks Bio Archived May 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 23 October 2019, at 01:58
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