Rolando McClain of the Oakland Raiders has some explaining to do. The linebacker has been charged with assault in the third degree, menacing, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm inside city limits.
The Oakland Raiders are used to distractions and difficulties.
Over a season in which they’ve coped with the death of team owner Al Davis, this week’s death of former star Chester McGlockton, the loss of starting quarterback Jason Campbell, the acquisition of Carson Palmer in midseason and a series of high-profile injuries, the team has built a 7-4 record and a lead in the AFC West.
Now the team goes into its game Sunday in Florida against the Miami Dolphins with a big question mark floating over middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was arrested Thursday in his hometown of Decatur, Ala.
McClain, according to reports, faces four misdemeanor charges over an incident in which he allegedly fired a pistol near the ear of a man outside his home after a scuffle. McClain had been given permission to be in Alabama this week to attend the funeral of his grandfather.
The long-term implications of the incident and McClain’s status will be determind over the next few weeks. Aside from the charges he faces, he could also be subject to a fine or suspension by the NFL.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson, however, told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group Thursday that he believes McClain will play Sunday against the Dolphins.
Jackson said the Raiders have looked into the incident and are “comfortable” with McClain playing this weekend.
“I can tell you we understand and know exactly what’s going on, and we feel very comfortable with the situation,” Jackson told McDonald.
The Dolphins, at 3-8, started the season 0-7 but have won three of their past four games and have been made 2½-point favorites by oddsmakers.
Since losing quarterback Chad Henne to injury, former Panthers quarterback Matt Moore over the past four games has completed more than 67 percent of his throws and has a 7-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said of Moore.
The Dolphins also have been committed to running the ball, with backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, and could give Oakland’s defense problems. Oakland allows 5.3 yards per carry.
The Raiders are expected again to be without running back Darren McFadden, so Michael Bush will have to be the primary back again. The Miami run defense has been solid, holding opposing backs to just 3.6 yards per carry over the past five games.
Also likely sidelined for Sunday’s game for Oakland are wide receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. Neither practiced Thursday.