ALAMEDA — Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain met with coach Dennis Allen before returning to practice Wednesday after serving a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Allen would not discuss details of the meeting but said McClain would remain on the roster in a backup role after starting nine games this year before his suspension.
“I laid out exactly what the expectations are for him moving forward,” Allen said. “Really that’s about it. We’re moving on from there. Rolando’s part of this team and we’re going to move on.”
McClain had not been at the team’s facilities since Nov. 28 when he was kicked out of practice following an argument with Allen. McClain was told not to return to practice and was suspended two days later.
That McClain is back with the Raiders is somewhat surprising considering he posted several comments on Facebook criticizing the team after he was sent home from practice. Those comments were later removed.
“Things get said in the heat of the moment,” Allen said. “We’ve gotta move on.”
Whether McClain has moved on is unknown.
The eighth overall pick in 2010, who posted that he was “mentally done” and “just waiting on my papers” after being sent home, did not appear in the Raiders locker room during the 45-minute media access period and did not issue a statement.
He practiced with Oakland’s second-team defense Wednesday while Omar Gaither, who started at middle linebacker in place of McClain the past two weeks, continued to work with the starters.
Although neither McClain nor the Raiders have said publicly what the dispute between the two men was about, Allen acknowledged the linebacker was told before the suspension that he had lost his starting job on defense.
“Everybody makes mistakes in life, and to be honest I still don’t know the whole story,” Gaither said. “I don’t know who’s at fault. (But) you welcome him back with open arms, put him back in the mix, and you just go from there.”
McClain was reinstated to Oakland’s roster on Monday but was unable to meet with Allen because the coach was in Texas to attend his father’s funeral.
In 41 career games with Oakland, McClain has 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, no fumble recoveries and did little to help improve Oakland’s struggling run defense.
Other players who have struggled with the Raiders this season have already been released.
Starting cornerback Ron Bartell was cut on Monday as part of a handful of moves to open a roster spot for McClain. Backup fullback Owen Schmitt was also let go, three weeks after outside linebacker Aaron Curry — a projected starter before the season — was given his walking papers.
McClain has struggled so far in his career and has had his playing time sharply reduced in recent weeks, but Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie resisted the urge to cut him with three games left.
“Just different circumstances,” Allen said. “I’m not going to get into the specifics.”
Oakland’s players didn’t seem too concerned about McClain’s return becoming a distraction.
“It hasn’t distracted us for the past two or three weeks,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “This team is completely focused on beating the Kansas City Chiefs and that’s all we’re going to worry about. If anybody has a problem with it I’ll help guys through it, but it’s no issue for us.”
Notes: Allen said there was “a chance” third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make his season debut against the Chiefs. … DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring) is still limited in practice but the Raiders are hopeful he can play for the first time since Nov. 4.