McClain's time with Oakland could be at end

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 - 7:36 am

ALAMEDA – In the realm of social media, Rolando McClain no longer is a member of the Raiders.

According to the Raiders, McClain still is on the roster.

The third-year middle linebacker missed practice Wednesday because of "team-related issues." Pressed for details, coach Dennis Allen said, "No more details, no more comments, just team-related issues."

According to a tweet by the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, McClain wrote on his Facebook wall, "Officially no longer an Oakland Raider," and followed it up with, "Well, technically I am. But I'm mentally done. Just waiting on my papers."

Later, Rapoport tweeted that McClain's Facebook wall had been wiped clean.

A Raiders spokesman would only say, "Officially, (McClain) is still on the roster," and he was not included on the league waiver wire. According to CBSsports.com, McClain was kicked out of practice by Allen after a "heated exchange."

As the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft and the Butkus Award winner out of Alabama, being placed on waivers would make McClain the Raiders' biggest draft bust since quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

Drafted to be the centerpiece of the Raiders' defense, McClain excelled as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense under Nick Saban for an Alabama team that won the national championship.

A full-time player in his first two NFL seasons, McClain was replaced in the nickel defense by rookie Miles Burris (Granite Bay High School) after the fourth game this season, reducing his playing time.

McClain continued as a starter and middle linebacker in the 4-3 base defense but has been inconsistent as a run-stopper.

Considering McClain's role and the salary based on his draft slot, he was unlikely to be around next season under his current contract. He made $970,000 this season and was scheduled to make $4,005,000 in 2013, $5,805,000 in 2014 and $2,665,000 in 2015.

With Travis Goethel on injured reserve following ACL surgery, Omar Gaither is the lone player with experience at middle linebacker if McClain is out of the picture.

• Running back Darren McFadden returned to practice for the first time since suffering a right high ankle sprain Nov. 4 and could be available to face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Also on the field was backup running back Mike Goodson, who had the same injury and, like McFadden, missed the past three games – all Raiders losses.

Both players were limited, and while it's not known if either will play, or how much, Allen said fullback Marcel Reece has staked his claim to some more carries.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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