McClain returns to team in backup role

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 - 7:43 am

ALAMEDA – The chain of events that led to Rolando McClain's dispute with coach Dennis Allen included the linebacker being informed of his demotion to being a backup linebacker and special-teams player.

McClain was back on the field Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 28, the day he was told to leave practice by Allen and later given a two-game suspension without pay for conduct detrimental to the team.

"Rolando and I met this morning," Allen said following practice. "I laid out exactly what expectations are for him moving forward. Really, that's about it. Rolando's part of this team and we're going to move on."

Asked how much McClain would play, Allen said: "Where we were at before the suspension is that he was going to fill a backup role and work on special teams. That's where we're at and we'll see where we are on game day."

Omar Gaither continued to get the work at middle linebacker in the team's base defense. McClain had been taken off the nickel defense in favor of Miles Burris after four games.

McClain was not available for comment, and Allen declined to get into specifics about the suspension or events leading up to it.

Asked why the Raiders didn't cut McClain, as they had Pat Lee and Ron Bartell when they lost their starting jobs, Allen said, "Just different circumstances."

As for disparaging comments made on McClain's Facebook page about the organization (which were later taken down), Allen said, "Things get said in the heat of the moment, and we've got to move on."

Gaither said it was business as usual for McClain on the field.

"Same old, same old," Gaither said. "He wasn't disruptive or anything. It was all good."

In a recent radio interview, Bartell said of McClain, "Believe it or not, he's a really good guy. … He just needs to grow up, to be quite frank."

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