The Raiders reinstated linebacker Rolando McClain from the suspended list on 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.
McClain had been suspended for two games on Nov. 30 for conduct detrimental to the team after a practice run-in with coach Dennis Allen. McClain 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 says Allen will discuss McClain’s role with him after he returns.
General manager Reggie McKenzie declined to comment on the moves and Allen will not be available to discuss them until he returns to practice on 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.
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 on 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. 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.