By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 8:51 pm in Oakland Raiders.
It appears the officials from Decatur, Ala., schools didn’t have to worry about Rolando McClain showing up at the Decatur-Austin game Friday night.
CSN-Bay Area reports McClain beat the Raiders to Miami, where, according to Hue Jackson, the middle linebacker and head coach are scheduled for a heart-to-heart talk about what has transpired since the second-year middle linebacker left the team for the funeral of his grandfather.
Jackson made it clear Friday he was disappointed in McClain being involved in situation that had him charged with four misdemeanors, including discharging a firearm in public and third-degree assault. He didn’t assume guilt, but neither did he present McClain as an innocent victim.
Now comes the hard part.
Jackson said during the Raiders’ bye week he had no tolerance for screw-ups who exceeded the bounds of simply blowing off a little steam during the week off.
“What I told them, most important, is one, that you represent this organization and this team and don’t do anything stupid that will cost you not to be a member of this football team,” Jackson said.
Even with no practice, the Raiders could use McClain against the Dolphins. Whatever his problems may be off the field, there hasn’t been a peep about his lack of dedication in terms of film work, and study. He may not be the playmaker people expected, but the Raiders have struggled in the games McClain missed.
When Al Davis ran the team, there would be little question that McClain would play, if ready physically. There have been a handful of players throughout the years who may have needed discipline _ the late Darrell Russell comes to mind _ that were kept in the lineup despite being late for meetings and questionable effort. More than a few veterans have wondered about accountability over the years.
Jackson, while never failing to pay homage to Davis and his vision, has shown no fear in going his own way. His comments Friday seemed a clear indication he was going to hold McClain responsible for bad judgment, while rightly stopping short of dealing with the legal issues.
Rest assured, Raiders CEO Amy Trask, who has been in lockstep with Jackson, was mortified by the photos which showed a smiling McClain being put into a police car. She cares deeply about how the Raiders brand is portrayed, and the McClain photo ranks among the all-time low moments.
After missing a week of practice after being excused to attend a funeral and then winding up in a police report, it’s hard to imagine McClain playing against Miami.
The question is whether it will extend beyond the Dolphins game, and if the Raiders will insist McClain make some sort of public apology.