McClain told to stay away from team
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP)
The former first-round pick is stuck in limbo a day after being sent out of practice by coach Dennis Allen for undisclosed reasons.
''There's going to be consequences to his actions and it's a team-related issue,'' Allen said. ''I don't really want to get into the details of it. We asked him not to come to practice today.''
Allen said he talked with McClain on Thursday and that McClain was told not to report to the team's facility as the Raiders (3-8) prepare for Sunday's home game against the Cleveland Browns.
Allen said McClain has not been suspended and remains on the 53-man roster but would not speculate on what the future held for the linebacker.
''This is something that we've got to make a decision as an organization, and we're going to make sure that we make the right decision,'' Allen said.
McClain was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft after helping Alabama win a national championship. He has struggled so far in his career and has had his playing time sharply reduced in recent weeks.
In 41 career games with Oakland, McClain had 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, no fumble recoveries and did little to help improve Oakland's struggling run defense.
After being essentially an every down player for the first two years of his career, McClain was demoted after the first month of this season. He was replaced by rookie Miles Burris in nickel packages because of his struggles in pass coverage and because the coaching staff believed he tired too easily playing every down. He has gone from playing more than 90 percent of defensive snaps to just over half the past seven games.
McClain also had problems off the field. He was involved in a shooting in Alabama last November when he left the team briefly during the season to attend a family funeral. McClain had been convicted of four misdemeanors in May but he appealed and the charges were recently dropped when the accuser told prosecutors he no longer wanted to pursue the case.
If McClain does not play Sunday, recently acquired Omar Gaither would start in his place against the Browns. Gaither was signed by Oakland on Nov. 14 to replace the injured Travis Goethel. In two games, Gaither has only played on special teams but the coaches say he has learned the new system quickly.
''It's all similar,'' Gaither said. ''You've just got to learn the lingo. One coach calls it one thing, another coach calls it a different thing. The toughest part is the language, but there's only 11 guys, so there's only so many different things you can do.''
Gaither started 40 games over six combined seasons with Philadelphia and Carolina, playing middle and outside linebacker. He has 393 tackles, six sacks, 25 passes defensed, two interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in his career.
NOTES: The game Sunday will be blacked out in the Bay Area, ending a streak of 13 consecutive games telecast since the start of the 2011 season. ... QB Carson Palmer was limited in practice because of a thumb injury after hitting a helmet with his had last week in Cincinnati but offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is confident Palmer will play. ... RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (sprained right ankles) practiced for a second straight day, while DT Richard Seymour (hamstring) and DE Jack Crawford (toe) remain sidelined.