Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
Much to the surprise of many, the Raiders have brought Rolando McClain back into the fold and he took the practice field for the first time Wednesday since serving his two game suspension.
There was a time in which we all thought Rolando McClain'd days as a Raider had come to an end. It came right about the time he said he was officially no longer an Oakland Raider. That belief remained unchanged until today when he trotted back on the practice field.
He and Dennis Allen were to speak this morning to "discuss his role" with this team. That talk was to decide where he was to return to the lineup. But considering he hadn't apologized to Allen or Reggie McKenzie once in the weeks during his suspension, one would assume not much could have been said to convince Allen to bring him back.
With the Raiders losing six straight games, much has been made about there not being much to lose. But there is plenty to lose by bringing McClain back into the fold. He upset many of his teammates by his words and actions. Letting him back in could have lasting ramifications to the overall psyche of the team.
McClain was listed behind Omar Gaither on the depth chart at middle linebacker this week and his reps in practice were with the second team while Gaither worked with the first team.
Dennis Allen said after practice that McClain was told he would be a backup prior to his suspension as well as play on special teams and that will continue to be the case this Sunday. I would expect that to remain his role the final two games of the season as well.
There could be a method to the Raiders' madness. After what McClain has done to his reputation, as well as how late we are in the season, hoping a team might claim him on waivers and therefore take on his salary are slim to none. Therefore if they cut him, they pay him $3.6 million next season to not play for them.
If they have him around and he can somehow behave and play the role given him, a team might be willing to send the Raiders something in trade in the offseason. Even if it were a seventh round pick, the other team would take on his salary as part of the deal and that is what's important here.