Raiders finally part ways with McClain

Raiders finally part ways with McClain
April 5, 2013, 2:15 pm
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After 41 starts with the Raiders, Rolando McClain has as many off-field arrests as he has interceptions and forced fumbles combined (2). (USA TODAY IMAGES)

As expected, and long awaited, the Raiders have parted ways with middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who turned out to be as much a bust on the field as he was trouble off the field.

And because the Raiders waived him, teams will need to put in a claim to garner the services of McClain, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2010 draft out of Alabama.

"I’d like to thank the Raiders for giving me an opportunity to play in the NFL," McClain said in a statement to our corporate cousins at Pro Football Talk.

"I'm disappointed that it hasn’t worked out better, but I’m very excited and thankful for the Raiders allowing me to get a fresh start. I will miss my teammates and wish them and the Raiders organization good luck going forward."

The Raiders had no parting words, other than to announce the move on Twitter.

[NEWS: Raiders waive Rolando McClain]

So what took so long? Why did the Raiders wait until April 5 to rid themselves of McClain, who every observer figured was not long for Oakland, especially when general manager Reggie McKenzie acknowledged in January he could not cut McClain last year because the ensuing cap hit would have been too much to take on at the time.

Perhaps there was truth to the report that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie had given McClain's agent permission to seek out a trade for his client, in hopes the Raiders could get something in return for McClain.

Or maybe the Raiders were waiting to see on which player they would use their second June 1 designation, along with the already released Michael Huff, to spread out McClain's salary cap hit of $7.26 million over two seasons -- McClain or Carson Palmer, who was instead traded for next to nothing to Arizona on Tuesday?

But because McClain was placed on waivers, and because he is not a vested veteran, McClain is not eligible for the June 1 designation.

In any event, McClain, who was due a base salary of $4.005 million with a cap number of $6.675 million this season, will not return to the Raiders, who expected him to be a cornerstone of their defense when they drafted him as the top linebacker in college.

But he played in a 3-4 scheme at Alabama and while it was said he was a film room fiend, it did not translate onto the field. He seemed a step slow, often took bad angles, shot the wrong gap and jogged after plays.

Off the field, he was a distraction from the time shots were fired at his SUV in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., in January of 2011, to his arrest in late November of 2011 and conviction, though later dropped, on charges of third-degree assault, menacing, discharging a handgun in city limits and reckless endangerment in Decatur, to his being kicked off the practice field this past November after a purported "heated discussion" with coach Dennis Allen and taking to Facebook to say he was done with the Raiders.

McClain, who lost his starting position after the bye week last year, was suspended two games for conduct detrimental to the team after the purported blowup with Allen and was made inactive the remaining three games of the season while suffering the indignity of being a scout team running back in non-contact practices, wearing the demeaning green beanie over his helmet.

His arrest this past January in Decatur, for giving a police officer a false name by writing an expletive as his name, was not the last straw, simply more evidence that McClain did not get it. Especially in light of his earlier social media posts that claimed he was done as a Raider.

"I know what he texted, Facebooked or all that stuff…what he said, that he’s gone," McKenzie said at the time. "I think I am the one that is going to make that call, not him."

Suffice to say, McKenzie made his call.