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KeiVarae Russell (born October 19, 1993) is an American football cornerback who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played college football at Notre Dame.

KeiVarae Russell
Free agent
Personal information
Born: (1993-10-19) October 19, 1993 (age 25)
Everett, Washington
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:196 lb (89 kg)
Career information
High school:Everett (WA) Mariner
College:Notre Dame
NFL Draft:2016 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • FWAA Freshman All-American (2012)
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:22
Forced fumbles:0
Fumble recoveries:0
Pass deflections:2
Player stats at

High school careerEdit

Russell attended Mariner High School in Everett, Washington, where he was named to the first-team Washington class 4A by the Associated Press as a senior,[1] after gaining 1,293 rushing yards on 177 attempts with 14 touchdowns. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.[2]

Considered a four-star recruit by, he was rated as the 9th-best athlete prospect of his class.[3] He committed to play college football for Notre Dame on December 29, 2011, over offers from California, USC and hometown Washington.[4]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
KeiVarae Russell
Everett, Washington Everett (WA) Mariner 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 4.55 Dec 29, 2011 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247SportsN/A    ESPN grade: 79
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 207 (national)   Rivals: 9 (RB), 3 (WA), 124 (national)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "Notre Dame Football Commitment List". Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  • "Notre Dame College Football Recruiting Commits". Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  • "ESPN". Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  • " Team Recruiting Rankings". Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  • "2012 Team Ranking". Retrieved January 11, 2016.

College careerEdit

In summer camp of his freshman year, following a season-ending injury to incumbent starter Lo Wood, Russell was moved from running back to cornerback.[5] He worked himself into a starting role for week 1 of the season vs. Navy, in Dublin, Ireland. Russell started all 13 games as a true freshman, including the 2013 BCS National Championship Game vs. Alabama. He recorded 58 tackles, including two for loss, and two interceptions, and was named a Freshman All-American by the FWAA.[6] As a sophomore, Russell started all 13 games in 2013, registering 51 tackles, one interception and eight pass break-ups.

Academic suspensionEdit

On August 14, 2014, the University of Notre Dame announced that they were investigating suspected academic dishonesty on the part of several students, including members of the football team; Russell along with DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, and Ishaq Williams were those named in the investigation, with another player, Eilar Hardy, named a few weeks later.[7] On October 10, 2014, following the conclusion of the school's investigation, Russell was suspended for the fall and spring semesters from the school, and did not play for the Irish in the 2014–15 season.[8]

Return to Notre DameEdit

After being suspended for seven months by the university, Russell announced on May 29, 2015, that he was back and had been re-admitted to the university for the upcoming semester.[9] He returned to the field and started 11 games, before missing the remaining two games with a fractured tibia.[10] He finished his season with 60 tackles, 3.5 for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six pass deflections.

On January 4, 2016, Russell announced he would forgo his remaining eligibility at Notre Dame and enter the 2016 NFL Draft.[11]

Professional careerEdit

Coming out of Notre Dame, Russell was projected by analysts to be a second to fourth round draft selection. He was rated the eleventh best cornerback out of the 261 available by Although he was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, he was unable to perform any workouts or drills, besides the bench press, due to a leg injury. He was able to participate at Notre Dame's Pro Day and performed in the entire workout and drills.[12]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
5 ft 11 18 in
(1.81 m)
192 lb
(87 kg)
31 58 in
(0.80 m)
10 in
(0.25 m)
4.49 s 1.60 s 2.63 s 4.00 s 6.84 s 38 12 in
(0.98 m)
11 ft 2 in
(3.40 m)
17 reps
All values from NFL Combine[13]

Kansas City ChiefsEdit

Russell was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round (74th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.[14]

On June 13, 2016, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Russell to a four-year, $3.15 million contract with a signing bonus of $813,128. He was the last of the Chiefs' 2016 draft class to be signed to a contract.[15]

On September 14, 2016, Russell was waived by the Chiefs. He was the earliest draft pick waived that was selected in the first four rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft. Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid explained the waiving of Russell, stating that he was unable to get comfortable with the defensive scheme, didn't stand out during training camp and preseason, and was unable to climb the Chiefs' depth chart.[16][17]

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

On September 15, 2016, Russell was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals.[18] In Week 17 against the Ravens, on his first career snap on defense, Russell intercepted Ryan Mallett on a deep pass intended for Breshad Perriman.[19]

On September 1, 2018, Russell was waived by the Bengals and was signed to the practice squad the next day.[20][21]. He was promoted to the active roster on October 18, 2018.[22]

Russell was waived during final roster cuts on August 31, 2019.[23]


  1. ^ "Associated Press all-state football team". The Seattle Times. December 19, 2011.
  2. ^ "Russell selected to play in U.S. Army All-American Bowl". The Daily Herald.
  3. ^ "KeiVarae Russell".
  4. ^ Bud Elliott. "KeiVarae Russell Commits To Notre Dame Over Washington". Vox Media.
  5. ^ "Notre Dame football: Russell ready for move to cornerback". tribunedigital-orlandosentinel.
  6. ^ "2012 FWAA Freshman All-America Team".
  7. ^ "Notre Dame investigates academic fraud, holds out four players". USA TODAY. August 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "KeiVarae Russell of Notre Dame Fighting Irish won't play against this season".
  9. ^ "KeiVarae Russell says his suspension from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish has been lifted".
  10. ^ Notre Dame dealing with further injury trouble after BC win
  11. ^ Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell declares for 2016 NFL draft
  12. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: KeiVarae Russell". Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  13. ^ "KeiVarae Russell, DS #11 CB, Notre Same: 2016 NFL Draft". Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Teicher, Adam (April 30, 2016). "Chiefs get their cornerback in third round in Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell".
  15. ^ Christian Hardy (July 28, 2016). "Chief's third round pick KeiVarae Russell is a sponge early in training camp". Kansas Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "KeiVarae Russell waived: Latest comments and reaction". bleacher Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  17. ^ Alper, Josh. "Chiefs waive 2016 third-round pick KeiVarae Russell".
  18. ^ Jackson, Zac (September 15, 2016). "Bengals claim KeiVarae Russell". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Toback, Rebecca (January 2, 2017). "Bengals rookie KeiVarae Russell grabs interception on first NFL snap on defense". Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Bengals Establish Roster of 53 Players". September 1, 2018.
  21. ^ "Andrew Brown, Russell Signed to Practice Squad". September 2, 2018.
  22. ^ "Bengals sign CB KeiVarae Russell off practice squad, waive WR Auden Tate". October 18, 2018.
  23. ^ "Bengals Announce 53-Man Roster". August 31, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.

External linksEdit