By Ryan Leong
The first order of business on Wednesday was the official reinstatement of linebacker Rolando McClain. Head coach Dennis Allen returned from Dallas after attending the funeral of his father Grady Allen who died last week from cardiac arrest. While playing it close to the vest, Allen did inform the media that McClain was returned to the active roster.
“Where we were at before the suspension is that he was going to fill a backup role and work on special teams and that’s we’re at and we’ll see what happens come game day,” Allen said.
He also specified that before the suspension, that would be his role on the team for the remainder of the season and he refuses to allow McClain to be a distraction to the team.
“I laid out exactly what the expectations are of him moving forward. And really that’s about it. We’re moving on from there and Rolando is part of this team and we’re going to move on,” Allen said.
McClain practiced with the second-team defense. Omar Gaither, who replaced McClain at middle linebacker the past two weeks, continued to work with the starters.
Allen says there were “just different circumstances” and would not elaborate as to why he kept McClain but released cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Pat Lee.
It’s unsure why the Raiders kept McClain, since they could have voided the remainder of guaranteed money he is expected to receive based on the suspension. McClain is due $3.6 million guaranteed ($9.8 million total) for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. McClain has already received $ 20 million from the team.
In 41 career games with Oakland, McClain has 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and no fumble recoveries. He was convicted of four misdemeanors in Alabama in May for firing a hand gun next to a person’s head. McClain appealed and the charges were recently dropped when the accuser told prosecutors he no longer wanted to pursue the case.
Back on November 28, McClain was ejected from practice after a heated argument with Allen. He then made disparaging remarks about the team on his Facebook page which he later deleted. Following practice, McClain was nowhere to be found in the locker room during media access.
Others weighed in with their thoughts on the return of McClain, most notably, quarterback Carson Palmer.
“It’s not going to distract us,” Palmer said. ”It hasn’t distracted us for the past two or three weeks, whatever it’s been. This team is completely focused on beating the Kansas City Chiefs, and that’s all we’re going to worry about.”
As for the rest of practice, Darren McFadden was a full participant. He re-tweaked his right ankle in the game vs. Denver but it’s good news that he wasn’t limited.
Michael Huff injured his wrist in that game vs. Denver and was limited in practice and so was safety Mike Mitchell with a neck injury.
Veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour has been hampered by knee and hamstring injuries. While he was limited in practice, Allen says there’s a good chance he will play this Sunday against the Chiefs.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.