FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Raiders coach Hue Jackson spoke to reporters following Friday's practice and discussed the Rolando McClain situation before the team left for their charter flight to Florida.
Jackson intimated he might take action against McClain in the form of a suspension before the NFL got involved. Remember, on the Monday of the Raiders' bye week, Jackson was asked what his message was to players as they left town for a few days.
"What I told them" Jackson said on Oct. 24, "most important is one, that you represent this organization and this team, and don't do anything stupid that will cost youto be a member of this football team. That's first and foremost."
Friday, though, Jackson said he was hoping to speak with McClain face-to-face "in the next several hours," presumably at the team hotel this evening, after the team arrived in Fort Lauderdale.
A sampling, then, of Jackson's Q&A with the media earlier Friday afternoon
Question: What is Rolando's current status with the team?
The status of Rolando is this: Coach Jackson now has gotten more information that I can now make a very informed decision on what I think is best for our football team and I'll do that here in the next day or so. Obviously, there's a situation that's happened, and I've had an opportunity to digest it all, and see it all, but at this time, I think what's most important for our organization is that we focus on this football game. Because I have 52 other players that are doing things the right way and doing things as I see they should be doing it and we're getting ready to play a game, and I will deal with Rolando when that time comes.
Question: Is Rolando here?
Here in Oakland? No, he's not. He is not here in Oakland. Obviously, he's not in jail. I hope to see him in the next several hours, myself, personally and then we'll go from there.
Question: Are you disturbed by how this makes the organization look?
I'm disturbed by everything. Anything that hurts this organization or hurts this football team and what we talk about and what we're trying to become, I'm very disturbed by it. Here's the bottom line -- there's a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things, and obviously, there was something done wrong. So we'll go and deal with that accordingly from there.
Question: Are you confident Darryl Blackstock can step up if at middle linebacker if need be?
I'm confident that whatever we decide to do this football team will rally and play as well as it's ever played.
Question: At this point, have you ruled him out for Sunday?
I haven't done that yet, but again, I will deal with that, I don't have to do that right now. I'll do that as we continue to move forward.
Question: How concerned are you with this situation being a distraction?
Not with this team. I'm not concerned with it. I'm not going to let anybody stop this train from where it's going. I don't care who it is, and I think the team's that way. And this team has taken on my personality, and I know that and I believe that. We're not going to get concerned about anybody that's not on the train the right way. We're going to get ready to go to Miami to win a football game. That's all they know, that's all I know, and that's what we're going to be concerned about.
Question: Would you wait for the NFL to hand down any kind of discipline, or would you just act on behalf of the Raiders?
Absolutely. The league's going to do what they're going to do, and I respect that. But this isn't right now about the league. This is about the Raiders and this organization and coach Jackson and this football team. We'll deal with it accordingly when that time comes. Again, until I have an opportunity to sit down with the player face to face, will I finalize my determination.
Question: Were you angry when you heard about this? Things were going well then this happened.
Things are going to still go well. We're not going to let one thing bring down what we're accomplishing, by no stretch of the imagination. Am I disappointed? Yes. Just like anything. You get disappointed in your kids. All these guys are like my sons. And when they make mistakes there's consequences and things that you have to deal with. And we'll deal with that accordingly. But we're moving forward. I know that these are things we have to talk about and deal with and we will, but this football team has a big game to play, and that's what the story is really about. It's about a game, and that's what we need to go do is go play a good football game.