It has been a tumultuous last two months for Raiders' starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain. It all started on December 1st of last year when he was arrested on several charges including assault and discharging a firearm in city limits while visiting his hometown of Decatur, Alabama. It hasn't gotten better for him since then.
In the week leading up to the Raiders' week 13 matchup with the Dolphins in early December, McClain was excused from practice to attend his grandfather's funeral. The plan was for him to skip the entire week of practice while in Alabama and meet up with the team when they arrived in Miami. On Wednesday of that week he was arrested after an alleged altercation with a childhood friend. The report stated that he punched the man, put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him before firing the weapon next to the man's head.
Immediately following his arrest, some unsavory pictures came out in which he was grinning like a fool while cuffed and being placed in a squad car. His mug shots also showed a very telling smirk that suggested that at very least he didn't grasp the gravity of the situation.
He then met up with the team in Miami as originally planned. Following the incident and amidst the allegations, Hue Jackson benched him... well, sort of. He would enter the game after a couple plays and was essentially the starter. If there was a lesson to be learned by McClain, it would not be learned on that day.
The Raiders would get blown out by the Dolphins due in large part to a defense that played with little semblance of discipline, individually in the case of McClain and as a team in part because of McClain. That loss started the Raiders on a downward spiral that saw them lose four of their final five games and miss out on the playoffs.
Immediately following his arrest, McClain waived arraignment and his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Since then, his trial has been set for May 17. The charges are third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm in the city limits.
Surprisingly, all the charges are misdemeanors in the state of Alabama. He is extremely lucky in that regard especially when you consider Plaxico Burress received two years in prison for shooting himself in the leg in a New York nightclub.
McClain's attorney, Billy C. Burney II, has said the linebacker denies firing a gun and said he wasn't involved in the fight.
The alleged victim is one Christian Tapscott, a childhood friend of McClain's who filed a lawsuit on Wednesday with the Morgan County Circuit Court seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages from McClain and the other alleged attacker, Jadarious Willingham.
The suit claims Tapscott sustained broken bones, bruises, and lacerations, adding that McClain "smiled and laughed as he pointed a gun at Mr Tapscott and Mr Tapscott begged him not to kill him."
McClain now could surrender a sizable amount of his money for the incident whether in losing the suit or in settlement. This is, of course, on top of the sizable lawyer fees he will pay defending himself.
Additionally, depending on what comes to light in the criminal case, McClain could face suspensions handed down from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. As we have seen in the past, suspensions handed down do not depend upon guilty verdicts. Goodell reviews the details of the case and if in his view McClain is guilty of wrong-doing and/or his actions shine a negative light on the NFL, he will be suspended.
Also consider that the charges being misdemeanors in Alabama is completely irrelevant in regards to how he is punished in accordance with the NFL. It is the National Football League not the Alabama Football League. Goodell will see to it that he picks up where Alabama law left off.
Outside of the destruction of his public image, thus far the most that has happened to the Raiders middle linebacker is being arrested and benched for two plays. He is facing a great deal more repercussions in the coming months. It will be up to him if this damage is temporary or permanent.
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McClain may be a physical speciman but that doesn't convert to a quality NFL football player. He takes himself out of way too many plays by plugging the wrong hole (no pun intended) and cannot shed a blocker the way a Matt Millen could. He looks way to lean to be 255 or 265 and plays smaller than that as well - again when trying to shed blockers. While all 3 linebackers (Wimbley, Curry and McClain are all physical specimans, not a one of them is an above average NFL linebacker.
Anyone else thinks much of this could have been avoided if the team'd actually suspended him for the Miami game at least?
That picture says a lot of things about McClain. First off, he has no remorse, and literally thinks his arrest is funny. The kid needs a serious life lesson, and the only way it is going to happen is for Goodell to impose a (1) year suspension. The NFL would be doing McClain a severe injustice by just giving him a 1 or 2 game suspension, as McClain needs to understand that he is not above the law. He is a great player, no question, and has potential to be the best linebacker in the league. However, if McClain keeps engaging in illegal activities, especially activities that involve hurting other people, his career, and ultimately life, could be in danger. A hard lesson is what he needs, one which will make him think twice before he decides to go down the road of destructive behavior.
2010 offseason I said McFadden should be given more time.
2011 offseason, I said Heyward Bey should be given more time.
2012 I'm going with Rolando.
Truth is, he's 255 pounds, runs a 4.6 forty, has a nasty streak, and in college was rated one of the smartest players in the entire college system.
His problems aint his ability. His problems are the fact that he's been playing in a hopeless D, under hopeless defensive staff. Most of which have already been fired, as they were so bad.
The guy is responsible for his own play, but let's remember, they aren't his schemes.
Truth is, the guy's a playmaker. Recorded 5 sacks (almost leading all MLB) in a bad season. He can rush the passer. He was a beast against the run in college.
Dennis Allen is an aggresive coach. He lets his playmakers make plays. McClain will be a beast in 2012.
You know, Richard Seymour had as many bad games as McClain last year. Maybe we should trade him as well
From the (limited) amount I know about the US legal system, I'm assuming he won't do any prison time.
You know, millionaire's don't get locked up, unless they do something pretty serious in the states, right?
if we stay in 4-3, then I think he has to go .. .he just doesnt have the speed/instincts for MLB in a 4-3. He is clearly just an immature kid, but if we switch to 3-4, then he could start to produce. If he starts to produce then his confidence will go up and he will start focusing again I think ... or hope ... or pray
If the sticks to a 4-3 what do you think the odds are that McClain is traded? He has been an average MLB so far and if this rears it's ugly head again McKenzie could be seen to see him go. I don't know what he would bring in return though? A third round selection maybe? I think a second would be pushing it.
he's a fucking clown and deserves everything he gets if not more depending on the sentencing. he looks like an idiot smiling like that. it's like he knows he's only going to get a slap on the wrist. i'm so ashamed that he's part of the raiders organization.
so sad, at home to attend a funeral and pulls a stunt like that. and nick saban said he was the smartest FOOTBALL player he ever coached, notice the emphasis on football cause he's a knucklehead off the field. it may be an isolated incident, but what if that bullet hit an innocent bystander or something, possibly a child. that arresr photo alone should make goodell give him a minimum of 2 games and a max of 4 or 5. totally inexcusable! i defend my raiders to the end, but i dont defend knuckleheads!
@LeviDamien in trouble. Agree or disagree?
@LeviDamien crime. Not found guilty, but charged. This might help eliminate players putting themselves in the position or atmosphere to get
@LeviDamien Player contracts should include a clause that allows team to retract any future guarantees if they are charged with violent
@Spartacus The problem with that is there is no precedent for that kind of suspension for an incident like this. I think a four game suspension may be warranted here.
BTW I have said previously that maybe Seymour should be traded. He has been average this year and is earning way too much for the way he has been playing. Time to make a statement to some of these players that if you are not performing to your contract level expect change
Sure he may have straight line speed, but ask him to change direction at pace and it's a completely different story! Also how intelligent do you really think he is? He has failed to show much football smarts so far, and this arrest showed he probably isn't the most intelligent off the field either.
I really do hope Allen can turn him into something special, and I think switching to a 3-4 would help. But if the team sticks to a 4-3 I don't think McClain is the answer at MLB.
Is this a McClain appreciation society??? He couldn't run a 4.6 to the buffet bar. What have you guys been watching all year???? He's only any good goin forwards. McClain WONT be a beast in 2012. He will be a BUST in 2012.
@ChristopherMooney Let's face it, if any LB on any team is set to cover Calvin Johnson, he will look like a snail. I agree, Rolando is a real talented player, but unlike Seymour (who was already a cast off at NE), we all expected Rolando to be a plug and play beast-mode MLB, and he's fallen really shor from that. Anyway, I think his first year was much better than the last one and a lot of that was Chuck B's fault. I would also hope he starts to produce sonner rather than later, but this boy seriously need to man up and start to be responsible for himself. Whenever he's ready to play next season, I really hope he plays his best.
@ChristopherMooney He might go without any jail time (and with tons of community service), but the league is not gonna be that indulgent. He's lucky all this happened in Alabama and not in Texas becuase it's almost incredible he wouldn't have to spend some months in prison if he'd be found guilty of all this crap. Anyway, I don't expect to see him playing before week 6.
@oaklandraiderAt least somebody here can smell the coffee Oaklandraider. Dont fool yourself that being in a 3-4 is going to turn McClain into something else either...
I don't agree on the speed claim. He did a 4.68 forty in the combine. That would make him the 3rd fastest linebacker in the 2011 draft. Von Miller ran a 4.53 as an example, and McClain is 20 pounds heavier.
He's an incredible athlete for his size. He's probably one of the faster middle linebackers in the entire league.
Instincts - you may be closer to the mark there. I suspect his lack of speed is more mental, than physical. However, he was also known as a very smart, intelligent player in college.
I'd say 90% of his problems are the Raiders defensive coaching staff and coordination. Which have been basically the worst in the league his first 2 years.
Seriously, put him with a top coordinator, and he'll be a beast in 2012.
90% of the Raiders D have been average for the last 2 years. Probably below average. You're not continually one of the worst Ds in the league, if guys are playing well.
No way they trade McClain. He will improve as the D improves.
@massillonraider Seriously I think it's gonna be a little bit more than 4 games. I mean, they gave 4 games to Ben Worthlessburger but no charges were filed in that case, and they gave Paxico Burres 4 games but he didn't assaulted anyone and his gun firing was an accident. God, I just hope this doesn't cause more chaos on the team
You are right Levi. I just think from a personal standpoint, a (1) year suspension would be the best thing for him. McClain obviously has a big chip on his shoulder, and his attitude during this whole process shows he thinks he is bigger than the law...It would be a shame to see a great talent like McClain ruin his life and throw everything away due to erratic and stupid behavior. A firm lesson is needed NOW to set him straight, before it becomes too late...
@LDizzle@Spartacus I really think his suspension will be much bigger than 4 games (I expect 6 at least), becuase let's face it, his actions would have been really bad, I mean, way worse than Plaxico's, and he got 4 games. This really affects the NFL image in a very negative way. And Hue's indulgency with Death Ro wont be helping his case too much.
Now, when I see the photo I see him being sarcastic to the paparazzi who took the picture. He was posing, and I think he's not actually getting fun or something like that. Anyway, it was a terrible move since it can be so easily misunderstood. It gives the worst impression no matter what he was trying to do.
@ChristopherMooneybelieve me, Id like to be wrong, but Im just not sure how much he wants it. Hopefully, Allen will whip him into shape !
@Spartacus McClain a great player? Like when???? Keep drinking the kool-aid Spartacus. Got Bust written all over him.
@oaklandraider@ChristopherMooney McClain has the speed. But it is hard to tell much of the time because he is either hitting the wrong gap, getting blocked, or giving up on a play and jogging. And that is only partially due to a coordinator. It has to do with motivation. The right head coach and defensive coordinator may be able to motivate him.
I not sure. If McKenzie thinks he is a problem off the field I could see him being shipped off easily. New manager, new coach. None of these guys have loyalty to any of these players. This roster could really be gutted especially seen Allen has been given a 4 year contract. That could be signs pointing to a bigger rebuild than some think.