Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 3, 2012
McClain feeling healthy, focused entering season

ALAMEDA -- Talking to reporters for the first time since the beginning of training camp, Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain said he feels healthy going into his third NFL season and that he has heard nothing about the possibility of a suspension from the league stemming from his off-the-field legal issues.

McClain, the Raiders' starting middle linebacker, was sentenced in May to 180 days in jail after being found guilty in municipal court in Alabama of third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, menacing and wrongful discharge of a firearm. He is appealing the conviction in circuit court and awaiting a jury trial.

"I don't think I've ever had a talk of anything about a suspension," McClain said Monday when asked if staying focused on the field has been a challenge during the preseason. "I haven't heard it. I guess it's all speculation."

Pressing matters on the field have included absorbing the Raiders' new defense and taking on more of a leadership role this season, which coaches have asked the 23-year-old McClain to do. The latter isn't an altogether new prospect to McClain, who said he "was a pretty good leader at Alabama in college," but admitted that the role is different in the NFL.

"You're not dealing with guys your age, you're dealing with grown men, and being a leader is not just about yelling," McClain said. "It's about understanding the guys that you're working with. Different people respond to different things in different ways. It's just figuring out your teammates and the way they respond to things to get them to work. So it's still a process, but I think for the most part everybody's just being accountable to the team and doing the right things on their own."

McClain said he feels good about the new defense introduced by head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.

"I think the Raiders have been so accustomed to just playing straight man, everybody knowing what we're going to be in," he said. "And now just being a little diverse, changing things up, I think it'll benefit us some. But at the same time offenses still game plan, they know eventually they'll see our pressures and they'll pick up on them. So it's just about executing the defense, whatever's called, no matter if it's a pressure or straight zone. You've just got to execute and play your rules, and what happens happens."

As for whether the defense is a better fit to his game, McClain said: "I don't know. I guess we'll find out Monday."

The Mobile Press-Register reported in April that McClain had undergone stem cell treatment after last season on his knee and ankle. McClain said it was mostly a precautionary move.

"I feel fine," McClain said. "The stem cell stuff was just so I wouldn't have these nagging injuries and they didn't prolong into the season. And right now I feel good going into the season. So we'll see."

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

Raiders stories on

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31