ALAMEDA -- The specter of a possible NFL suspension is something Rolando McClain hasn't spent a lot of time worrying about.

"I don't think I've ever had a talk of anything about a suspension," McClain said in a rare interview Monday. "I haven't heard it. I guess that's all speculation."

McClain was convicted by a Decatur, Ala., municipal court judge in May of third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and illegal discharge of a firearm. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but his case is currently under appeal.

The next step is a jury trial in Morgan County, which wouldn't begin until six months after an arraignment that has yet to take place.

The NFL has issued conduct suspensions in other cases before the legal process was complete, but it has yet to act on McClain's misdemeanor convictions, They are the result of a Nov. 30 incident in his home town of Decatur, where he was convicted of firing a gun next to the ear of an acquaintance during a dispute.

Asked if his focus on football was affected, McClain said, "It's football. I get paid to play football."

Some other observations by McClain in his first interview since July 30 in Napa:

  • The Raiders new defensive scheme:


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    "I think the Raiders have been so accustomed to playing straight man, with everybody knowing what we're going to be in. Now it's just being a little diverse, changing this up, which will benefit us some. At the same time offenses, they still game-plan. Eventually they'll see our pressures and they'll pick up on them. It's just about executing the defense, whatever is called. Is it pressure or straight zone? You just have execute it and play within the rules and what happens, happens.''

  • Learning to be a leader, something McClain admits he has struggled with:

    "I was a pretty good leader at Alabama in college. It's different here. You're not dealing with guys your own age. You're dealing with grown men. Being a leader is just not about yelling but understanding guys that you're working with. Different people respond to different things in different ways. It's figuring out your teammates and how they respond to things to get them to work."

  • Being more comfortable asserting himself with a teammate making an error:

    "I don't know. That ain't really my personality. I'm a man. When I'm out of line I can correct myself. I really don't want or need somebody to tell me when I'm out of line. I know it. I correct myself. The way I was raised, you don't have to be cursed out or whatever. If you know you're wrong, fix it."

  • Impressions of new starting linebackers Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris:

    "So far, so good. The real bullets will start flying this Monday. That's what matters. We don't get paid for preseason or practice. We get paid for what happens in a game. We'll see."

  • Impressions of Burris as a rookie starter:

    "There's not a lot of pressure on him. You got two veteran guys beside (him), me and Philip (Wheeler). So I just try to tell him to relax. He gets excited. He's a very excited guy, and we love him. The hardest thing is, just tell him to calm down. He always wants to make his plays. He has to be calm. He's a great young guy. I'm excited to see him play."

  • How he was affected by last season's under-achieving defense:

    "I don't know. I'm not talking about the past. This is a new year. The past is the past for a reason. It's a new year and we got to go out and be as good as we want to be."

  • The affect of off-season knee and ankle stem cell treatments:

    "I feel fine. The stem cell stuff was just so I wouldn't have these nagging injuries and they don't prolong into the season. Right now I feel good going into the season, so we'll see."