Lechler might not be back

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 - 7:44 am

ALAMEDA – Will the Raiders' most decorated player return next season?

It's not a slam dunk, says punter Shane Lechler.

The Raiders made four roster transactions Monday, including the reinstatement of middle linebacker Rolando McClain from the suspended list and the release of starting cornerback Ron Bartell.

Meanwhile, Lechler, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, conceded he isn't sure where he will end up in 2013.

"It's one of those things you don't have any control over, and it's kind of frustrating," Lechler said. "In the same sense, it's exciting and frustrating at the same time."

Lechler, 36, is in the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract signed in 2009 that made him the highest-paid punter in the NFL. He's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

Entering the season having had surgery on his non-kicking leg, Lechler only lately has begun to show the form that has made him the NFL's all-time leader in gross punting average.

He is ranked 10th in gross average at 47.3 yards, with a net of 38.3 that is the second-worst of his career.

Undrafted free agent Marquette King, a thunder-footed punter with consistency issues, ostensibly will compete for the job in 2013.

General manager Reggie McKenzie has shown signs of running a tight fiscal ship without bloated salaries. While Lechler is open to returning, only McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen know how much they'll pay a punter on a rebuilding team.

Notes – Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who hasn't played or practiced since Nov. 4 because of hamstring and knee issues, returned to practice Monday.

Running back Darren McFadden also practiced without issue after aggravating his ankle sprain against the Denver Broncos on Thursday.

• Bartell, who signed a one-year contract worth $3 million in salary and bonus money in the offseason, will be replaced by Phillip Adams, who has interceptions in each of his last two games.

• McClain is back on the 53-man roster, but his status remains in doubt until after he speaks with Allen, who will be back on the field with the team Wednesday.

• Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City's leading receiver, will miss Sunday's game with a rib injury.

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