By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 5th, 2011 at 12:16 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Middle linebacker Rolando McClain says he speaks only on Mondays during the season. Even then, that’s only on rare occasion. On this Monday, he declined an interview request seeking his take on his arrest last week.
“Not at all,” McClain said, when asked by this reporter if he wanted to speak.
He spent most of the media-access period in the locker room mingling with a handful of teammates and trading barbs.
McClain was arrested in Decatur, Ala., on Thursday and charged with four misdemeanors, including third-degree assault for allegedly punching a childhood friend, holding a gun to the 23-year-old’s head and then firing the gun next to his ear.
McClain posted bail on the $2,000 bond and was released Thursday afternoon. He joined his teammates in Miami on Friday night and played Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson said he decided to let McClain play after hearing his account of what transpired.
“The information that I have, that I gathered myself in dealing with him, is I feel that the player has an opportunity to be honest,” Jackson said after the game. “At the end of the day, there’s no question that he knows I’m disappointed with some things that occurred. And I will take care of that in-house.”
Jackson added that he will watch with keen interest how the league handles the situation. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL is aware of the matter and is conducting an investigation.
“If the league decides to come down on him, then I’m going to come down on him like you’ve never seen,” Jackson said. “But I’m truly backing my player on this. I trust the things that I know.”
Wide receivers Denarius Moore (foot) and Jacoby Ford (foot) said they aren’t sure whether they will be cleared to practice this week or play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Ford said he was on his way in for treatment when stopped for a brief interview. He said he won’t know what’s in store for him this week until he meets with team trainers. He has missed the past three games.
Moore said he isn’t speaking about his injury “because we really don’t know yet” where it stands this week. He has missed the past two games.
“It’s super hard to sit here and watch my teammates go through what they’re going through and actually watch film, playing through good and bad,” Moore said. “It’s not always bad. It’s just something that I have to maintain and make sure I’m not pushing myself and get reinjured again. I just continue to listen to coaches and what I should do, how I should feel about going out there.”
Running back Taiwan Jones said his right hamstring is at about 75-80 percent strength, based on agility drills he performed this morning.
Given that, there’s a chance he will return to practice this week and, perhaps, play against the Packers.
Moore said he isn’t concerned about the prospect of returning for a game likely to be played in freezing weather.
“Not really because I spent my college career in pretty much the same type of weather,” Jones said. “I should be able to adapt to it pretty easily.”
It has been quite some time since the Raiders had all their key players at their disposal for a game this season. That tends to wear on the players, right offensive tackle Khalif Barnes said.
“Yeah, it can be tough, man, when you don’t have all your guys out there,” Barnes said. “But, we can’t make any excuses. There are no excuses in this business. We have guys that can step in to replace the guys who are down. We’ve shown that we can get the job done before, so there are really no excuses. We just have to go out perform and play. We just didn’t do that for 60 minutes yesterday.”
PLAYERS WORKING OUT
Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan oversaw the workout of two players late this morning. Both players appeared to be linebackers.
The Raiders did not reveal the names of the players donning Nos. 44 and 47.
MCFADDEN NOT SPOTTED
Running back Darren McFadden was spotted working with a team trainer last Monday. Today, he was nowhere to be seen on the practice field or in the locker room.
Therefore, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he has made enough progress in his rehab from a mid-foot sprain to resume practicing for the first time since Oct. 23, when he got hurt early in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
At this point, it’s a long-shot to envisioning McFadden playing against the Packers. He has to get back into football shape, get used to being hit again and needs ample time getting back into the flow of the offense.
The smart money says, he returns for the Raiders game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 18. Even then, that’s far from a certainty until he shows that he can plant his right foot, make sharp cuts and hold up in full-contact situations.
JOHNSON READY TO ASSERT HIMSELF
Cornerback Chris Johnson finally got into a game Sunday after missing seven straight because of a hamstring injury. Now, he’s ready to play even more now that he feels back up to speed.
“Oh, yeah, I’m going to take my role back now,” Johnson said of the starting job he relinquished once he suffered the injury. “They wanted to do that (last week) just to see how my body would hold up because I haven’t hit anybody in probably a month. I’m ready to go.”
Lito Sheppard, Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke have started games opposite Stanford Routt during Johnson’s lengthy absence.
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