ALAMEDA -- In their effort to mine Rolando McClain's talent, and perhaps reach the strings of his heart, the Raiders have burned through practically every chapter in the big book of interpersonal relations.
So when they send McClain away, and surely they must, they should sleep well. They will have done their part and then some.
As of Thursday afternoon, the third-year middle linebacker still is a member of the Raiders, in the official sense. He was dismissed from practice Wednesday and had not returned to the team's facility here.
Coach Dennis Allen, acknowledging he has spoken with McClain, said the enigmatic Alabama native was "asked not to come to practice."
It's better for the Raiders, and perhaps McClain, if he doesn't come back at all -- ever.
Though Allen did not specify which, if any, rules McClain may have violated it was clear he ran afoul of team protocol. CBSSports.com reported Wednesday that a dispute between Allen and McClain led to the player being banished from the practice field. Allen neither confirmed nor denied this.
The coach did say "there's gotta be consequences" for whatever McClain did.
For the moment, the team had decided to ice McClain, to let him sit and ponder, if he so desires, his NFL future. He knows he failed in his first opportunity. He knows how much was expected and how little he actually delivered. He knows he took the money and jogged about the field, missing tackles, failing to get off blocks and rarely making a significant contribution to a struggling defensive unit.
McClain also knows his thoughtless actions off the field brought unwanted publicity to himself, to his team and to the league. Two brushes with the law and one conviction were enough to question his judgment. One unforgettable photograph of him mugging while being handcuffed was enough to conclude he is not a real leader of real men.
Any football who player doesn't produce and also brings unwanted drama upon his team has given his team not one but two reasons to show him the door.
Any football player who has pushed two administrations to the brink of despair absolutely needs a change of scenery, along with an injection of maturity.
The biggest challenge facing Lamonte Winston, Oakland's first-year director of player engagement, was getting to know the man behind jersey No. 55. During an offseason chat with Winston, I noted there was a photo of McClain on a soda can atop a bookshelf in Winston's office. I also noted there were no other pictures of any other Raiders.
I concluded McClain would be one of Winston's special projects, just as former coach Hue Jackson was hired in an attempt to reach former quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
Russell is gone, as he should be.
McClain needs to go, and he will.
The Raiders have tried charming him. That didn't work.
They have tried enabling him. That didn't work.
They have tried counseling him. That didn't work.
They have tried, just last month, demoting him. That didn't work, either.
Nothing has solved the riddle of the overhyped, underproductive middle linebacker who was drafted eighth overall in 2010 to become the centerpiece of Oakland's defense.
When an employee is unproductive and no amount of maintenance is enough to make him worth the time and money, it's time to push him out the door.
Though Russell, a No. 1 overall pick in 2007, almost certainly will keep his title as Oakland's biggest draft bust in recent years, if not ever, the truth is McClain made even fewer positive plays.
There is absolutely no reason to keep him around, none at all.