When Rolando McClain was holding up the BCS National Championship trophy back in January of 2010, I thought there was no way this kid wasn’t going to be a stud at the next level. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way as all of the draft experts had him as a top ten pick and easily the best linebacker in the draft. But then, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders and my initial beliefs went up in smoke, just like that.
Now, before some Oakland fan tries to knife me, am I really that out of line? The Raiders franchise has been the biggest mess imaginable, excluding the Gruden era, for pretty much a couple of decades now. In that time, they have been NFL purgatory for almost any prospect that has went there.
Check out some of these draft “busts” over that time period; Quentin Moses, Robert Gallery, Teyo Johnson, Matt Stinchcomb, Patrick Bates, JaMarcus Russell and now, Rolando McClain. I put the word bust in quotes because there comes a point where you have to wonder if Oakland drafted bad, or if they ruined a lot of these young player’s potential.
With the news coming down today that Rolando McClain would indeed be released from the team for reasons that still aren’t clear as of writing this. He posted on his Facebook wall yesterday that he was “Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!” yet the team still claimed he was on the roster. But after he wasn’t on the field for practice earlier in the day, it all added up to him being released by the team.
So what exactly happened? Well, no one really knows yet. There are rumors and, of course, the assumption that he has just been a knucklehead and a team distraction in the locker room, but still no solid answers.
The questions about his character popped up long before the draft and they seemed to come to a head this summer when he was arrested for assault and carrying a gun before getting sentenced to 180 days of prison time. This makes it easy to assume that the guy is just a cancer and he caused his own issues with the franchise. But again, this is just an assumption and we don’t know the full story.
The next reason could be because of lack of performance. I know, shocking, right? But he did lose his spot in the rotation to Phillip Wheeler before looking terrible in a flop against the Bengals. But I’ve never seen a prospect with his talents get outright released like this unless he acted a fool behind closed doors. Benched; sure. But never just released so suddenly.
However, the fiscal side of things could be an indicator here as well. The cut will save the Raiders approximately $7 million in cap space in 2013 and McClain becomes the latest victim of the roster purge the team has went in since the passing of Al Davis.
McClain added to his initial post that he “looking forward to playing for an actual ‘team'” yesterday. This goes along with my theory that Oakland’s black hole effect that it has on player’s is still greatly alive. And if McClain goes somewhere else and then reaches his draft potential, well then therein lies a bigger problem in Oakland than Rolando McClain.
Filed under: Oakland Raiders