Programming note: For complete coverage of the Raiders joint practices with the Cowboys in Oxnard, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6:00, 10:30 & midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
OXNARD – Rolando McClain’s divorce from the Raiders was messy. The linebacker taken No. 8 overall in the 2010 draft was released with two years and over $10 million left on his contract for one simple reason. He wasn’t welcome in Oakland anymore.
He was suspended two games for conduct detrimental to the team following a practice-field argument with head coach Dennis Allen in Nov. 2012, a dispute that broke Allen’s last straw. He was reinstated after two games, but played fullback on the scout team and never saw game action again.
McClain has gone through his share of troubles and a retirement since – we won’t re-chronicle everything here – but is attempting a comeback with the Dallas Cowboys.
That put him on the same field as the Raiders during a pair of joint practices in Oxnard, a perfect set up for an awkward situation.
McClain said it wasn’t too bad. He wasn't nervous about seeing the Raiders again, and doesn't think much about that time.
“I don’t know what the relationship is,” McClain said. “I had three years there, it is what it is, I made some great relationships, I still have those relationships, and I’m proud of it. That’s what you do. You live and learn. I wish them nothing but the best.”
The inside linebacker indicated that he said, “What’s up” to Allen and talked to defensive coordinator Jason Tarver for a bit.
“It actually felt good,” McClain said after Wednesday’s practice. “I know so many of them. We shook hands, we said hi, we had smiles. It was fun. Just like practicing with them in Oakland you say ‘Hey’ and then go play. Once the whistle blows you’re all focused.”
McClain has lost some weight since his Raiders days, and say he’s rejuvenated after taking some time away from football. He has a chance to start for a Cowboys defense beset by injury, including a season-ending knee ligament tear to middle linebacker Sean Lee.
McClain insists that he’s focused on his future, not a checkered past that includes a disappointing start to his NFL career that labeled him a malcontent and a Raiders draft bust.
“It was two years ago, two-and-a-half years ago,” McClain said. “It’s all in the past. I wish them nothing but the best.”