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Bring on Clarett

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
The guy’s really only played one year of football since graduating from high school and seems to have serious character issues, but the Raiders ought to consider rolling the dice anyway and seeing if they can get lucky with Maurice Clarett.

Clarett will never come at a lower price than right now after getting his exit visa from a Denver team foolish enough to draft him in the third round.

If the Raiders wait for Clarett to first clear waivers, they can sign him for the minimum. Or they can claim Clarett and honor the deal he signed in Denver – one laden with incentives they’ll only have to pay if he is actually productive.

In either case, it’s a no-lose situation.

Mike Shanahan sent him on his way after Clarett whined about his positioning on the depth chart. The Broncos did this even though Clarett’s 40-yard dash times before the draft were somewhere in the Robert Gallery range.

Why should the Raiders even bother? Why not?

If Clarett shows even a hint of bad attitude or simply cannot play at an NFL level, nothing is lost. He can be waived as easily as he is signed. But what if there is a good football player somewhere deep inside this bad act?

Maybe he comes in and decides it’s his last chance and it’s time to get serious. Problem children like this either flourish or fail miserably in Oakland with little in between. If Clarett wants to watch and learn, he has two ideal role models in LaMont Jordan and Zack Crockett.

A former backup himself, Jordan called upon Raiders reserves after the Houston loss to pick up their play. Crockett has every reason to voice his discontent at never getting a
shot at being an every-down back, but the next discouraging word out of his mouth will be the first.

It’s not as if the Raiders are overflowing with talented runners. Jordan and Crockett are the only proven ball carriers. Chris Hetherington figures to stick as a block-and-catch fullback. After that, it’s the oft-injured Justin Fargas, DeJuan Green and journeyman Omar Easy.

Clarett is worth a look, even if he ultimately isn’t worth a 53-man roster spot.

Huh?
Doug Gabriel’s sudden surgery to his left hand after first injuring his right hand was confusing, but still more coherent than coach Norv Turner’s explanation on a conference call recently concerning an injury to just-waived offensive tackle Pete McMahon.

The following is a word-by-word transcription of Turner’s response to a query about McMahon: “He’s a little bit like Doug Gabriel. It was a diagnosis, you know, and then
see where he came back. And they’ve done a . . . They went in . . . He couldn’t play. It was late in practice Wednesday, and was an extent of what it was. And then thought he’d be able to play, and it was just . . . it didn’t respond. He’s probably gonna . . . believe he’s scheduled . . . They’re making one last check and gonna have surgery.”

Surgery on what?

“A knee.”

Which one?

“No, I’m not good at that. Sorry.”

Unsolicited Opinion
Seems like a kind of a raw deal for quarterback David Rivers, who was with the team during mini camps and seemed to have a solid training camp with increased snaps once Andrew Walter suffered a groin injury and Marques Tuiasosopo broke a finger.

Rivers wasn’t going to make the team unless someone as seriously injured, but giving him a few snaps against Arizona to put on tape would have been a nice parting gift – especially since both quarterbacks above him on the depth chart are already nursing injuries.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer