DECATUR, Ala.– Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested Thursday on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges after police said he fired a gun during a fight in his Alabama hometown.
McClain, 22, held a gun beside a man’s head during an altercation and the man begged him not to shoot, according to a statement released by Lt. John Crouch of the Decatur Police Department.
McClain, an All-American at Alabama during his junior year, moved the gun but fired a round beside the man’s ear, according to the statement. No one was shot, but police said a man who was injured in the altercation drove himself to a hospital, where he was treated and released.
McClain was released on $2,000 bond. He faces charges of assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and firing a gun inside the city limits. Another man identified as Jerradius Willingham, 23, was charged with assault and released after posting a $500 bond.
McClain’s attorney Billy C. Burney II said the linebacker denies he fired a gun and said he was not involved in the fight.
“Mr. McClain asserts his innocence,” Burney said in a statement. “We are confident that Mr. McClain will be cleared of all charges.”
The Raiders had no comment.
McClain’s agent, Pat Dye Jr., did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment
Raiders coach Hue Jackson said McClain was in Alabama for the funeral of his grandfather. Speaking before the arrest, he said McClain would play Sunday at Miami “as far as I know.”
“I can tell you we understand and know exactly what’s going on, and we feel very comfortable with our information and we don’t have any further comment at this time,” Jackson said.
McClain is the Raiders’ second-leading tackler this season after joining the team as the eighth overall pick in 2010. Although he struggled as a rookie, the 6-3, 255-pounder had developed into a centerpiece of Oakland’s defense this season despite being slowed by a sore left ankle.
Earlier this year McClain, the 2009 Butkus Award winner at Alabama, reported someone in Decatur shooting at his vehicle. There wasn’t any indication whether the two incidents were related.
Police said the victim, whose name was not released, suffered injuries to his head and face during a fight with Willingham. He was bleeding when officers talked to him.
“The victim told officers that following the fight, he crawled to his car,” the police statement said. “He said that when he reached his car, Rolando McClain produced a pistol and aimed it at him. He said that while he was still on the ground, McClain walked over to him and put the gun to his head.”
Police said the victim told officers “he begged McClain not to shoot him and that McClain took the gun away from his head, held it next to his ear and fired it.”
McClain was facing legal problems in Alabama before his arrest.
A University of Alabama student sued McClain in November 2010 claiming the former Crimson Tide star hit him with a car and assaulted him in 2008. Stanford Matthew Mangham filed suit in circuit court in Morgan County, where Decatur is located.
Mangham claims McClain intentionally hit him twice at an intersection on Nov. 13, 2008 and then slung Mangham to the ground, causing permanent injuries. He is seeking $75,000 plus punitive damages.
McClain’s attorneys filed documents in court denying the student’s claims.
That case is set for trial June 5.
McClain’s ankle injury forced him to miss the Raiders’ 38-24 loss to Denver on Nov. 6 when the Broncos ran for 299 yards, 118 from quarterback Tim Tebow. McClain reinjured his ankle on the first play of the second half in last week’s 25-20 win over Chicago but came back later to finish the game.
Since McClain’s return, Oakland has won three straight to take a one-game lead in the AFC West heading into Sunday’s game at Miami.
Raiders veteran running back Rock Cartwright said he intends to talk to McClain about his situation whenever the linebacker returns to the team.
“All you can do is tell them things, try to give them help, but if they don’t want to be helped, then they won’t be helped,” Cartwright said. “Once he gets back, I’ll try to put a bug in his ear and see what’s going on.”
McClain signed a $40 million, five-year contract that included $23 million in guarantees with the Raiders on July 28, 2010.