The Oakland Raiders' top draft pick, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, sat down with his hometown Decatur Daily newspaper this weekend for a nice, friendly softball interview before he rejoins the Raiders for off-season practices this week.
It's the sort of sweet, small-town newspaper interview where you don't get asked hard questions and you don't have to make any news.
But Rolando McClain made some news.
"I’m not looking to sit out," McClain told the Decatur Daily. "In order to play for the team, I need to be in training camp. I’m going to OTAs and not worried about the contract."
That's not really news, but it's not really normal for these guys fresh out of the draft to say something like "I'm not worried about the contract". Their agents tell these guys to never say things like that.
And for the Oakland Raiders, these guys have said just the opposite of that two of the last three season. It's been kind of a problem.
JaMarcus Russell held out the whole summer of 2007, and Darius Heyward-Bey held out briefly in 2009. Both sat out practices for a bigger payday, and both stumbled -- to put it charitably -- early in their Raider careers.
Then again, maybe it's McClain's family that won't let him hold out or miss any games. Believe it or not, Alabama is Tennessee Titans territory. And the Raiders open against the Titans on September 12.
McClain admits he has been besieged by ticket requests from family and friends he didn't know he had. "I may be buying a few tickets from teammates," he told the Daily.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is right now concocting an "old buddy" story to try and hit Rolando McClain up for some free tickets and Raiders gear.