It almost didn’t happen for the nine-year NFL veteran. He had visited the Raiders earlier this year and deemed it “a good fit” but didn’t sign with the team until Thursday.
“It’s one of the teams I visited in free agency,” McDonald told reporters on Monday. “It was a good fit when I came out, but I just didn’t make the right decision, and I’m just glad to be here now. I’m just glad to be a Raider now.”
He finished with four tackles in a 20-19 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, just three days after he and Johnathan Hankins signed with the Raiders to shore up the defensive line. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis was placed on injured reserve last week.
McDonald will have more time this week to get ready for Sunday’s game when the Raiders (0-2) visit the Miami Dolphins (2-0).
The Raiders so far rank 22nd in total defense and 29th in sacks. Raiders coach Jon Gruden is not happy about the defensive line.
“I think we said it after the game, we got to make improvements there,” he said. “Across the board we got to make improvements. It was pretty obvious.”
McDonald, 31, hopes to bring that help. He spent the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last season, he finished with 29 tackles and five sacks.
“Football isn’t about one person,” he said. “It’s about 11 guys playing together to make one tough unit, and going forward, I just want our defense, our team and all three phases come together and play well together.”
Hankins, 26, had 44 tackles and two sacks with the Indianapolis Colts. He had a career-high seven sacks in 2014.
Calhoun to active roster - The Raiders signed linebacker Shilique Calhoun to the 53-man roster, a week after waiving him.
Calhoun was originally selected by the Raiders in the third round (75th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. In three season, he totaled eight tackles, one pass defense and five special team tackles.
To make room, the Raiders waived defensive tackle Brian Price.