For the English footballer, see Matt Russell (footballer).
Matt Russell
Director of Player Personnel
Personal information
Date of birth: (1973-07-05) July 5, 1973 (age 46)
Place of birth: Tokyo, Japan
Career information
College: Colorado
NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 4 / Pick: 130
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Detroit Lions ( 1997 1999)
 As administrator:
* Colorado Buffaloes (2000)
Graduate assistant
Career highlights and awards
* 4× Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, 50)
Stats at

Matthew Jason Russell (born July 5, 1973) is an American football executive who is the Director of Player Personnel for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL).[1] Russell also was 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 from 1997-1999.

Early yearsEdit

Russell was born in Tokyo, Japan.[2] He lived in Germany, England and various parts of the United States as a child. He attended Belleville High School-East in Belleville, Illinois,[3] and played for the Belleville East Lancers high school football team.

College careerEdit

Russell attended the University of Colorado, where he started at linebacker for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 1993 to 1996. He finished his collegiate career ranked first in school history in unassisted tackles (282) and second in total tackles (446)[4]. He received all-conference honors during each of his final two seasons with the Buffaloes. 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 after posting a career-high 137 tackles. He was selected as a member of CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

Professional careerEdit

The Detroit Lions selected Russell in the fourth round (130th pick overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft,[5] and he played in fourteen regular season games for the Lions in 1997 and earned all-rookie honors.[6] 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.[7] 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 careerEdit

Russell spent the 2000 season as a graduate assistant coach for Colorado, helping to instruct the Buffaloes’ linebackers. 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 in December 2000.[8]

New England PatriotsEdit

Russell served as a scout for the club during the 2001 season and worked as an area scout for the team from 2003-05. Russell is credited for persuading Scott Pioli and the New England Patriots to draft Matt Cassel.[9]

Philadelphia EaglesEdit

Russell was hired by the Eagles in 2006 as a scout. He spent the 2008 season as the national scout for the Eagles after scouting the Western region for the club from 2006-07.

Denver BroncosEdit

Russell was hired by the Broncos in 2009 as Director of College Scouting, and was promoted to Director of Player Personnel in January 2012.[10] As director of player personnel, Russell is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the pro personnel and college scouting departments for the Broncos. Since his ascension to director of player personnel in 2012, the Broncos overhauled the majority of their roster, developing depth and competition through free agency and the draft. Denver posted the third-most regular-season wins (64) in the NFL from 2012-17, while capturing four AFC West Division titles, two AFC Championships and a victory in Super Bowl 50.[11]

On July 6, 2013, while celebrating his 40th birthday, Russell was arrested for DUI.[12] He was suspended indefinitely without pay by the Broncos, but was reinstated after 60 days.[13]



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