ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders suspended linebacker Rolando McClain on Friday for two games for conduct detrimental to the team after sending him home from practice earlier in the week.
Coach Dennis Allen announced the suspension but has not said publicly what McClain did to warrant the punishment other than calling it a team-related issue.
McClain was present at the start of practice Wednesday before being asked to leave amid speculation he might be released. Allen asked McClain to stay home from the facility on Thursday, saying there needed to be “consequences to his actions.”
Those consequences became a suspension.
McClain is eligible to return to the team on Dec. 10
Fox Sports first reported the suspension.
McClain was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft after helping Alabama win a national championship the previous season. 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 6½ sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, no fumble recoveries and did little to help improve Oakland’s struggling run defense.
The Raiders (3-8) have allowed 169 points in losing the past four games and are on pace to give up the second-most points ever in a 16-game season.
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.
Recently acquired Omar Gaither will take McClain’s spot in the lineup against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Since being signed by Oakland on Nov. 14, Gaither has only played on special teams in two games but the coaches say he has learned the new system quickly.