ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders reinstated linebacker Rolando McClain from the suspended list Monday and cut starting cornerback Ron Bartell in the team's latest roster shake-up.
The Raiders (3-10) also cut backup fullback Owen Schmitt and promoted cornerback Chimdi Chekwa from the practice squad as they plan to get a better look at young players down the stretch of another disappointing season.
A 2007 graduate of Decatur High, McClain had been suspended for two games Nov. 30 for conduct detrimental to the team after a practice run-in with coach Dennis Allen. McClain, who starred at Alabama, did not practice Monday and is not required to return to the team until he meets with Allen, who was in Texas on Monday for his father's funeral. The team said Allen will discuss McClain's role with him after he returns.
After being essentially an every down player for the first two years of his career, McClain was demoted after the first month of this season. He was replaced by rookie Miles Burris in nickel packages because of his struggles in pass coverage and because the coaching staff believed he tired too easily playing every down. He has gone from playing more than 90 percent of defensive snaps to just over half the past seven games.
McClain also had problems off the field. He was involved in a shooting in Decatur in November 2011, when he left the team briefly during the season to attend a family funeral.
McClain was convicted of four misdemeanors in May.
He appealed and the charges were recently dropped when the accuser Rishard Tapscott, a former basketball teammate of McClain's in high school, told prosecutors he no longer wanted to pursue the case.
General manager Reggie McKenzie declined to comment on the moves and Allen will not be available to discuss them until he returns to practice Wednesday.
But players said the news that Bartell was gone took them by surprise.
"I came in this morning and heard everybody talking about it. I didn't believe it at first, but got in here and didn't see him in here," cornerback Michael Huff said. "Definitely, definitely tough, but obviously part of the business."
Bartell was signed to a one-year contract worth $3 million in the offseason after missing all but one game in 2011 with St. Louis because of two neck fractures.
Bartell began the season as the starter but broke his left shoulder blade in the season opener. He returned to the lineup Nov. 11 in Baltimore and started the past five games, playing 95 percent of the defensive snaps. For the year, Bartell allowed 18 catches on 28 throws in his direction for 295 yards and four touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. He had no interceptions.
He was benched briefly in the first half Dec. 2 against Cleveland before returning in the second half when Phillip Adams sustained a concussion.
The Raiders are now without both cornerbacks who began the season as starters with Shawntae Spencer on injured reserve with a sprained right foot. Auburn product Pat Lee, who started seven games earlier this year, was released last month, leaving converted safety Huff as the only player on the roster who has started at cornerback this year.
Adams got additional playing time the past two weeks as coaching staff wanted to see what he could bring to the team. He played well in his brief time, intercepting two passes, including one last week from Peyton Manning. Adams allowed two catches on six throws his direction for 6 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.
"I just come in and do what I'm supposed to do," Adams said.
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