- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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However, McClain has been out the door in Oakland for more than four months.
The team suspended the middle linebacker for conduct detrimental in November for two games. Once his suspension was lifted, McClain never saw the field again. He was relegated to a scout team running back in practice. The Raiders held onto him for salary-cap purposes and finally dumped him Friday.
He asked permission to seek a trade, but that was almost comical. No team was going to give Oakland anything for a player who was a bust on the field and who has been arrested twice since he was drafted. Perhaps a team will give him a chance to revive his career (I’d be surprised if that happened in the AFC West) but the Raiders are not going to get anything for it. The Raiders will take a $7.26 million cap hit.
McClain was a problem on and off the field and was a disaster. He had to go. Oakland signed Nick Roach from Chicago to play middle linebacker.
This signifies another first-round bust for this franchise. The frustrating part of this one is McClain was considered a safe pick when he was drafted after several previous questionable decisions in the first round. He was a star at Alabama and there didn’t seem to be many negatives about him.
But McClain was overmatched in the NFL from the start and his surly personality never made him a favorite in any circle in Oakland.
Oakland has just two first-round picks left on the roster. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski (2000) and running back Darren McFadden (2008). McClain is the third first-round pick Oakland has jettisoned this offseason as he joins safety Michael Huff (2006) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (2009).
Because of trades for defensive lineman Richard Seymour and quarterback Carson Palmer (they both left the team this year too) Oakland hasn’t had a first-round pick in the past two years. Reggie McKenzie will get his first first-round pick with the No. 3 selection later this month. Cutting McClain is another reminder of how important this first choice will be for the Raiders.
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