With two games left in the Oakland Raiders season and on his contract with the team that drafted the former Arkansas star to be their franchise running back, Darren McFadden is returning from injury hoping to finish a potential final season with the only team he has ever known as a pro on a high note.
After injury plagued seasons have soured his relationship with the Raiders fans, McFadden told the media after his return to practice that he is also looking to past behind him. Even if the reception towards McFadden from Raiders fans is a 50-50 split between love and hate according to the running back.
“I guess it’s kind of mixed emotions, half and half,” McFadden said. “For me, I’m going to be the same person regardless. I’m going to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do in the community, do what I’m supposed to do on the field. I can’t worry about what’s happened in the past. I can only deal with what’s in the future.”
McFadden’s biggest flaw as a Raider has been injury as he has been hurt in every season as a pro. That hasn’t been an exception in a contract year for DMC as he has sat out of six games this season and has been limited in three. Not exactly the type of season you want to have when your next contract is on the line.
He will have two likely chances to change the market for himself as McFadden returned to practice on Wednesday and be in line to play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
As one would assume Rashad Jennings will remain the starter thanks to his emergence in McFadden’s absence and as he was when McFadden played on Thanksgiving. McFadden and fullback Marcel Reece will split carries in reserve, and the former star tailback hopes to make a solid impression to finish 2013.
“I would love to,” McFadden said. “That’s one of my things, finishing hard. I know once I’m out there playing hard, I know what I can do, so I don’t let the other things creep into my mind.”
As for the future, much like the majority of Raiders on expiring deals McFadden is waiting until the season is over before thinking on an uncertain future that could be outside of Oakland.
“I’m just going out there playing football and at the end of the year, whatever happens, happens,” McFadden said. “I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is just going out there and playing football.”
It is very likely that McFadden will not be returning to Oakland unless he takes a massive pay cut, but the former first rounder has had memorable games as a Raider. Perhaps he will have one last memorable run in the tank to end 2013 with a different story than the injury prone narrative that usually follows him