Raiders Notebook: McClain sheds his walking boot

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Raiders Notebook: McClain sheds his walking boot

Dec. 9, 2010 RAIDERS NEWS RAIDERS VIDEO Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com ALAMEDA - Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain sat out his second consecutive day of practice Thursday with a sore left foot, though the foot was out of the walking boot he wore the day before. "I'm good," McClain said, offering no other comment.
Still, McClain also had his left wrist heavily taped. GUTIERREZ: Raiders' east-coast void "We feel fine about it," said coach Tom Cable on the chances McClain will play Sunday at Jacksonville. "Just trying to be smart, take care of the athlete." Asked if McClain's foot was suffering from an injury that would get better with rest, Cable nodded. "It is improving," he said. "It's just a matter of resting it and not keeping it as a negative injury very long." At San Diego, McClain, the No. 8 overall draft pick out of Alabama, had a statement game with a team-high seven tackles, including a knockout blow of Chargers running back Darren Sproles. REWIND: Raiders run over Chargers The Raiders are referring to McClain's foot issue as tendinitis, after first calling it arthritis. The Raiders' secondary seems to be getting healthier as well, as cornerback Chris Johnson (groin) practiced for the second straight day. "I'm working through it," Johnson said. "I should be able to go, though, I've done everything (rehab-wise), so I don't see why not." Johnson was injured in the game at Pittsburgh on Nov. 21. If he's able to play, he should be part of the Raiders' nickel packages. "We're working on that now," Cable said. "He seems to be fine and, as long as we get through tomorrow, I think we can get back to where we were." Rookie offensive guard Bruce Campbell was inactive last week for the first time this season. "Only because of numbers, you know, just in terms of guys coming back healthy and all that," Cable said.
Then how is Campbell's progress going?
"Well," Cable said. "He needs a terrific offseason, but I think he's going to be a dynamite player in the NFL. I really like him, and the more I'm around him, and the more I get to work with him, he can learn, he gets it, and once he has it, it's in there and it's locked down, and I like it. "His future is very bright." Cable said Campbell, a left tackle in college at Maryland who blew scouts away with his measurables at the Combine, would stay on the interior at guard for the near future. "I mean, we know he can play tackle, but when you watch that kid run and how powerful he is inside, sometimes anchoring down, he would give you some real stability inside there," Cable said. "So, we'll see what the future holds, but I like where he's going." Cable was the Raiders' offensive line coach when Robert Gallery was flipped from a failed left tackle to a standout left guard. The thinking? "I always kind of look at it like, if you have a small parking place and you're going to try and put a big Cadillac in it and sometimes it doesn't quite fit, you know?" Cable said. "And when guys don't quite fit in there, for whatever reason, they're not comfortable in space outside or they don't handle the length of it, meaning they're long but they don't play long, there's no business putting them out there because they're going to get tore up. "So when you get big powerful guys like that at guard, I think it really stabilizes your line. You talk about knocking guys off the ball and keeping the pocket in front of your quarterback, it allows you to do that. I'm not saying he can't go out and play tackle; I think there's a chance (Campbell) could. But I think his transition from college to NFL, this was definitely the right thing to do because his progress every week, you kind of walk off the field on Friday saying, 'That guy's getting a little bit better each week.'" The Raiders injury report: Limited practice: WR Nick Miller (ankle), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), TE Zach Miller (leg), DT John Henderson (foot), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), SS Tyvon Branch (shoulder), CB Chris Johnson (groin). Did not practice: MLB Rolando McClain (foot), DE Jarvis Moss (hand), S Hiram Eugene (ribs). The recently-acquired Moss has fractured his right hand, though Cable thought he could play Sunday.

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

Raiders sign rookie OT Sharpe, LB Lee, all four seventh-round draft picks

The Raiders signed several members of their 2017 draft class, the team announced on Friday. Later round picks put pen to paper following the first week of OTAs, which began on Monday.

Fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and fifth-round linebacker Marquel Lee highlight this group of signings, as both players inked four-year rookie contracts.

All four seventh-round picks also signed their first professional contract. That group includes running back Elijah Hood, safety Shalom Luani, offensive lineman Jylan Ware and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

These deals aren’t hard to work out. The NFL and the league’s players union agreed on a rookie wage scale in the last collective bargaining agreement that slots salaries by draft order, which leaves little negotiating room within the set payment structure.

The team’s top picks remain unsigned, though they’ll get done in time. First round cornerback Gareon Conley, second-round safety Obi Melifonwu and third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remain unsigned.

Here’s a list of estimated contract values over a four-year rookie deal for each signed draft pick, per spotrac.com:

OT David Sharpe (No. 129 overall): $2,986,415 total; $586,415 signing bonus
LB Marquel Lee (No. 168 overall): $2,653,693 total; $253,693 signing bonus
S Shalom Luani (No. 221 overall): $2,494,414 total; $94,414 signing bonus
OT Jylan Ware (No. 231 overall): $2,484,295 total; $84,295 signing bonus
RB Elijah Hood (No. 242 overall): $2,469,750 total; $69,750 signing bonus
DT Treyvon Hester (No. 244 overall): $2,468,601 total; $69,750 signing bonus

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

Marquel Lee gets to play for his father's favorite team: 'He started bawling'

ALAMEDA -- Marquel Lee’s NFL draft weekend wasn’t always fun, a byproduct of high hopes unrealized. The former Wake Forest linebacker wanted to go early, but slid into Saturday and waited well into the fifth round before his phone lifted spirits.

A 510 area code brought Lee out of an emotional rut, one so deep he started wondering whether he’d get drafted at all.

“When I got the call from the Raiders, everything changed,” Lee said in the latest episode of NBC Sports California’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “I was so excited to play for this organization.”

Marquel Lee wasn’t the only one. His father jumped over the moon.

“He might’ve been more excited than I was,” Marquel Lee said. “He started bawling. I’ve never seen my dad cry like that.”

Corey Lee’s tears don’t come easy. He’s a no-nonsense military man who served 11 years in the Navy before entering the private sector. He was a strict but fair father and football coach who instilled the discipline and work ethic required for his son to realize great potential.

Corey Lee is also a lifelong Raiders fan. Seeing his son get drafted by his favorite team created a perfect emotional storm.

“I’m as die-hard as they get,” Corey Lee said. “When they called his name in the fifth round, it was such a great, powerful moment. There was some relief, because he worked so hard and sacrificed to reach this point. When families were on vacation, we were in summer camps and working out hard.

“Everything we did was to prepare him for the next level. I was so proud to see him achieve a goal he had.”

Corey Lee didn’t break down completely when Marquel Lee officially became the Raiders’ fifth-round selection. This proud papa let emotion overcome for a beat, and then darted for his bedroom. He returned to the party with a brand new Raiders hat and a No. 89 Amari Cooper shirt from his vast Raiders collection.

Marquel Lee threw on dad’s gear to honor his new team and the golden opportunity to play for a linebacker-starved Raiders team.

That wasn’t Marquel Lee’s first time in silver and black. He rocked a full Raiders uniform at age 2, complete with a helmet, football pants and a Tim Brown jersey.

He donned one again when rookies reported to the Raiders offseason program earlier this month. The full-circle moment wasn’t lost on Marquel, a man proud of his past and excited about an NFL future.

“There’s a picture of me in a Raiders jersey, pants and a helmet on my second birthday,” he said. “I look at it now and think, ‘Wow. It really happened.’ I’m wearing a Raiders uniform for real. My dream is becoming a reality.”

Corey Lee grew up a Raiders fan in Southern California, going to games with his family at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Pardon Marquel for not following in those footsteps. He grew up on the East Coast when Donovan McNabb was a superstar and gravitated toward the Eagles. Ray Lewis performed in Lee’s Maryland backyard and became an athletic role model.

Marquel watched tons of NFL football with his dad, complete games where father and son would talk about strategy and scheme. Marquel would watch game tape with his father at an early age and when Corey Lee deployed with the Navy, his mother Katanya – she, too, understood football -- made sure that practice continued.

Marquel Lee was armed with natural athletic gifts and cultivated knowledge of the game, allowing him play quarterback and middle linebacker as a junior at Westlake High in Waldorf, Md. His dad was a guiding light as youth instructor, a JV head coach and a varsity linebackers coach, but took steps to separate family and football.

“As a father, I never would allow him to call me dad on a practice field or anywhere,” Corey Lee said. “I was always ‘Coach’ during the season, whether we were at home or at practice, because I wanted to keep him in that mindset.”

Football was a primary focus back then, when the family often traded summer vacations for skills camps. Despite buzz around Marquel’s talents, Corey was against his son doing interviews with recruiting websites or ranking services. Father wanted his son’s head on straight, and it has remained that way. 

Top schools were slow to come around, but gravitated after Marquel fully recovered from a torn patella and stood out early in his senior year. He chose Wake Forest, a commitment his father wanted upheld even with late interest from other programs.

His growth continued as a collegian, and took a real spike during the 2016 season. Wake Forest’s defensive captains graduated, leaving him to assume a leadership role and put team over stats. Lee considered his junior season at Wake Forest subpar, and vowed to do better.

“I was pressing a lot, trying to rush my time and trying to get to the NFL,” Lee said. “I was on a road where I thought I wanted to leave (school) early. I was so hard on myself, especially if I didn’t produce. That’s why I said it was subpar. I don’t think I played like a team player that year.

“(The next season) I made a decision to finish what I started and be the leader I always knew I could be. I wanted to help my team get to a bowl game. I hadn’t played in one. That was a major part of me coming back in 2016. … I grew up a lot. I feel like I gained respect as a team leader, and really understood what it took to own that responsibility.”

Lee might have major responsibilities as an NFL rookie. The Raiders don’t have many options at middle linebacker, and Lee will be allowed to compete for a starting spot. It’ll take a solid spring and summer to earn it and give the Raiders confidence to hand an important starting spot to a rookie. The Silver and Black could add a veteran to that position group, though they have high hopes for their fifth-round pick. Lee could well make an instant impact. 

“We definitely think he has the potential to start,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in an interview with 95.7-The Game. “He’s a long ways away from that. We haven’t even begun to get the pads on, so a lot will be determined in training camp and the preseason. So far, he has looked very good.”

Lee considers himself well prepared for the challenges ahead, and believes he can compete at the professional level.

“I’ve been getting ready for this a long time,” Marquel Lee said. “My dad has been telling me that this experience will be different. It’s not like college anymore. It’s a job, and I have to be mentally prepared for everything I’m about to do. I’m here and I’m learning and I’m trying to do my best.”