ALAMEDA -- The nightmare of November ended for the Raiders on Friday with the news that the club issued a two-game suspension to middle linebacker Rolando McClain for conduct detrimental to the team.
Whether McClain returns to the team will depend on his actions after being docked two game checks, or about $114,000 in pay, according to general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Coach Dennis Allen announced the suspension but declined to get into specifics. McClain reportedly got into a "heated exchange" with Allen at practice Wednesday and was dismissed from practice.
McClain was later critical of the organization on his Facebook page and was looking forward to moving on, although the posts were later taken down.
"You cannot do what he did and call yourself a leader -- period," McKenzie said in a briefing with local media. "What to do post-suspension, we'll let that play out."
Regarding McClain's initial comments on Facebook about being out of the organization, McKenzie said, "I think I'm going to be the one to make that call, not him."
Allen informed McClain of the suspension. McKenzie said he has not spoken to McClain and doesn't plan on reaching out.
"I don't feel the need to approach him," McKenzie said. "So far, he is not apologetic."
In the short term, McKenzie said he's looking forward to "seeing Omar Gaither in there and I want to see how he runs the team and plays the middle."
Raiders players in the
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said he spoke with McClain and advised him not to burn bridges.
"You never want to put yourself in a position where a team is going bad, and they can just put all of it on you," Kelly said. "I don't want him to get in a situation where he's the scapegoat, the person to point to for what's wrong with the team. It's a collective thing."
McKenzie touched on myriad areas regarding the organization during a 40-plus minute sit-down with seven members of the Bay Area media. Though McKenzie acknowledged salary cap issues, injuries and a lack of depth, he said he was disappointed with the Raiders' performance in an 0-4 month during which they were outscored 169-79.
Among his observations:
"I'm not happy. I know the players, the coaches aren't happy. This was a terrible November. Big plays kill us on defense. ... I was not looking at us being 3-8 at this point."
"I'm still pleased with Dennis. I'm a rookie in this thing, Dennis is a rookie in this thing. I'm sure he has some rookie mistakes, but overall I'm happy with Dennis."
"I want to know everybody who is on the short list, the long list. That's just the way it goes. It's not a dictatorship by any means, but it's my football team, and I'm responsible. We have a great line of communication so it's not going to be an issue."
"Who really wants to play, who really wants to be a Raider, who's going to play Raider football. I'm talking about each and every one of us, coaches and players."
"The only way I can evaluate him is to play him. Now when he plays, how much he plays, that's up to the coaching staff. We've got a third of the season left, and this is as good a time as any to try and figure out what works best for him."
All but Kelly plan on appealing with the NFL.
"Ain't no use in fighting it," Kelly said. "I don't really have a case. Just got to realize that."
Listed as "out" are McClain, defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) and defensive end Jack Crawford (toe).
The Raiders have an open roster spot while McClain is under suspension, but Allen said they don't plan on using it until they begin preparations for the game against Denver next Thursday night.
Cleveland (3-8) at Raiders (3-8), 1:25 p.m.,
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