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DT Clinton McDonald glad he ended up with Raiders

While weighing destinations in free agency this spring, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald paid a visit to the Raiders’ facility in Alameda.

“It was a good fit when I came out,” McDonald said Monday. “I just didn’t make the right decision.”
McDonald, 31, instead signed with the Broncos, who ended up releasing the ninth-year veteran Sept. 1 amid 53-man roster cuts. Twelve days later, McDonald was in Alameda again, signed by the Raiders to fill a sudden need on their interior defensive line.
“I’m just glad to be here now,” McDonald said.
He didn’t have much time to get settled.
With starting defensive tackles Justin Ellis and P.J. Hall out because of injuries sustained in Week 1, McDonald played 52 of 64 defensive snaps and had four tackles in the Raiders’ 20-19 loss Sunday in Denver — both team highs among the defensive linemen.

“He did a heck of a job,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “He not only played a lot of snaps, he played some good snaps against the run and gave us a little bit of a pass rush in there. But that’s been his history. He can play the nose or 3-technique (lining up outside the guard), and that’s what he did.”
McDonald (6-foot-2, 297 pounds), was drafted by the Bengals, set his career high of 5.5 sacks in 2013 with the Seahawks and spent the past four seasons with Tampa Bay, totaling 13.5 sacks in 45 games.
Raiders defensive tackle Clinton McDonald stretches prior to Sunday’s game in Denver, which — thanks to a stadium-record 92-degree temperature at kickoff — was played in “challenging” conditions. Photo: David Zalubowski / Associated Press
Photo: David Zalubowski / Associated Press
Raiders defensive tackle Clinton McDonald stretches prior to Sunday’s game in Denver, which — thanks to a stadium-record 92-degree temperature at kickoff — was played in “challenging” conditions.
On Monday, McDonald said his decision to sign with the Broncos in March came down to “a few intricate details.” Gruden said the Raiders “liked him” when McDonald visited in free agency and “wanted to sign him.”
“He was injured and we couldn’t pull the trigger at that time for that sole reason,” Gruden said.
McDonald signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Broncos. He reportedly missed most of Denver’s offseason program because of an issue connected to a previous shoulder surgery and agreed to a restructured contract with the Broncos in June as a result.
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McDonald appeared in two preseason games, and had a sack in one, but was not among the six defensive linemen Denver kept on its roster to open the season. NFL Network reported last week that the Raiders signed McDonald to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.
“Fortunately, as fate has it, we got him at some point here,” Gruden said. “He’s a good player. He’s a great team guy. And we’re going to need him in the next several weeks.”
Ellis, whom the Raiders signed to a three-year, $15 million extension in March to be a primary run defender, is on injured reserve with a foot injury. The Raiders could bring him back as one of two players designated to return from IR later this season, but only after he has spent at least eight weeks on the list. Hall, who injured his ankle in the opener, told reporters last week he hoped to return soon, but Gruden on Monday did not sound hopeful Hall would be able to play Sunday at Miami.
“I doubt it,” Gruden said. “I don’t think so, but keeping my fingers crossed.”
The Raiders used three new defensive tackles at Denver in McDonald and Johnathan Hankins, both signed last week, and Brian Price, who was inactive in Week 1. Price was waived Tuesday as the Raiders activated defensive end Shilique Calhoun from their practice squad.
McDonald said playing 52 snaps for a new team in difficult conditions in Denver (a stadium-record 92 degrees at kickoff) was “challenging.”
“But it wasn’t too bad,” he said. “It’s the NFL, so you’ve got to expect the unexpected. However many snaps I played were what my job was to do.”
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was part of the Cincinnati staff that drafted McDonald in the seventh round out of Memphis in 2009, and said McDonald formed a favorable impression before the Bengals traded him to Seattle ahead of the 2011 season.
“We were upset that he was gone,” Guenther said. “But the time I was with him, he fits what we do. He’s a good team player. He’s serious about his job. He loves football. I’m glad to have him.”
Rookie Maurice Hurst, who recorded his first NFL sack at Denver, said Monday he expects McDonald’s presence to be beneficial.
“Clint and Big Hank (Hankins), they’re really great players,” Hurst said. “Being able to learn from a really experienced defensive tackle, who’s been around the league for a long time, is really going to help me in my learning curve as far as becoming an NFL 3-tech. Just learning from them and their wisdom will really play a positive role in me and P.J.’s development.”



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