We assumed the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a myth, but apparently the soul inhabits our world as Darren McFadden.
McFadden doesn’t seem to have a split personality, until you see him in an NFL stadium. Under the circumstance, his character becomes unpredictable.
We know the McFadden we’ve grown to love, the running back with size and 4.33 speed who purposely lowers his shoulders and keeps churning his wheels for extra yards. The same person who can turn a pass in the flats (or his own throw) into a lengthy gain and keep defenses on their heels.
But we must acknowledge the darker, sadder side of McFadden, the individual who runs nonchalantly between the tackles and recovers from injuries at the pace of a 50-year old. He can be found on the sidelines nursing his latest bruise while dreaming of the next big multi-year deal that may never come.
McFadden’s environment hasn’t helped matters (he’s had a poor supporting cast since entering the league in 2008), but we thought his nice side was back for good when he rushed for 129 yards in Week 2. Then his ugly alter-ego reared its head, and (surprise, surprise) the back is out indefinitely with a strained hamstring.
McFadden is in the last year of his rookie contract, so his performance the rest of the season will strongly dictate his NFL future. The erratic rusher isn’t in a position of leverage negotiation-wise, but the Oakland Raiders still have a tough choice to make.
Should the team cut their losses and trade McFadden at his lowest value before the October 29 deadline?
Or should the Raiders bet on All-Pro potential and commit to the running back at a discount price in the offseason, only to risk him walking away?
The head-scratching case of McFadden is just another question general manager Reggie McKenzie must mull. But if the former Arkansas star can’t shake his gridiron disorder, the decision will be easier.