By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Raiders waived linebacker Rolando McClain on Friday, less than three years after drafting him eighth overall to be the centerpiece of their defense.
McClain was mostly a disappointment in Oakland. He struggled during his first two years and then clashed with coach Dennis Allen and his staff last season.
McClain had his role significantly reduced last season, was suspended for two games for conduct detrimental to the team, and did not play the final five games of the season.
``I'd like to thank the Raiders for giving me an opportunity to play in the NFL,'' McClain said in a statement. ``I'm disappointed that it hasn't worked out better, but I'm very excited and thankful for the Raiders allowing me to get a fresh start. I will miss my teammates and wish them and the Raiders organization good luck going forward.''
In 41 career games with Oakland, McClain has 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, no fumble recoveries and did little to help improve Oakland's struggling run defense.
The Raiders have already found McClain's replacement, having signed former Chicago linebacker Nick Roach in free agency last month.
McClain still had two years left on the $40 million, five-year rookie contract he signed in 2010. That deal included $23 million in guarantees.
McClain is the third player drafted in the top 10 by late owner Al Davis to be let go so far this offseason by second-year general manager Reggie McKenzie. Defensive back Michael Huff (seventh pick in 2006) and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (seventh pick in `09) were cut last month.
Oakland has only two of its own first-round picks on the roster in running back Darren McFadden and kicker Sebastian Janikowski as McKenzie overhauls the roster. There are only 15 players left who were part of the organization at the end of the 2011 season.