Friday, November 30, 2012
Beginning of the end for McClain?
By Bill Williamson
The two-day saga involving LB Rolando McClain is over for the Oakland Raiders, and the disappointing former first-round pick remains with the team.
This issue is probably the beginning of the end for McClain in Oakland, who has been a problem on and off the field.
The Raiders announced Friday morning that McClain has been suspended for two games for conduct detrimental to the team. He can come back Dec. 10. The issue began Wednesday when Oakland coach Dennis Allen said McClain did not practice because of a team-related issue. There was a report that said Allen and McClain had a heated exchange early in practice and McClain was ordered off the field. Other reports suggested the discussion was not heated. McClain was not on the field Thursday.
McClain went on his Facebook page Wednesday and said he was no longer a Raider, and wrote that he wanted to play for a “real team.” That did not please teammates, and if McClain ever does get back into the Oakland locker room, it may be a cold place for him.
The Raiders clearly considered cutting McClain -- the No. 8 pick of the 2010 draft -- but opted for this suspension. There is a feeling around the team that taking this route will be tougher on McClain rather than cutting him now.
If McClain really wants to move on, the last thing the Raiders want to do is give him an opportunity to be claimed or to sign with a playoff contender.
McClain could be released when his suspension is over, or he could be buried on the bench for the final three games of the season. Oakland could then jettison him in the offseason.
Oakland now turns over the middle linebacker spot to recently signed Omar Gaither and adds the position to a long list of offseason needs. It is good for the team to have some clarity on McClain even if the final move has yet to be made.