Aug. 17, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker (55) Rolando McClain against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Since the season-ending knee injury suffered by middle linebacker Sean Lee in late May, the Dallas Cowboys have told us that they would be looking to their current roster for his replacement. But that came with the caveat that the Cowboys front office is constantly looking for players who can help this team. Apparently, they believe Rolando McClain can be that player.
The recently retired member of the Baltimore Ravens has apparently decided to return to the NFL for the second time in his short three-year career. The rights to the soon to be 25-year old were traded to the Cowboys on Tuesday, along with the Ravens 2015 seventh round pick, for Dallas’ sixth round pick next year.
With current linebackers Justin Durant, DeVonte Holloman and rookie Anthony Hitchens penciled in as possible Lee replacements, McClain’s addition certainly makes sense. A former first round pick (8th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, McClain was the highest drafted Alabama linebacker in 20 years. In 2009, the unanimous first-team All-American won both the Dick Butkus and Lambert Awards for being the best collegiate linebacker along with being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. His junior season at Alabama, McClain recorded 105 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and two interceptions.
“I think that all of this has led him to a point where he feels like the game is too important to him to give up.” McClain’s Agent Pat Dye
Foregoing his senior year after his team won the National Championship in 2010, McClain was a highly touted prospect that many teams, including the Cowboys, had interest in. In fact, NFL Analyst Mike Lombardi compared McClain to former New York Giants greatPepper Johnson
. And it’s that potential that has landed the troubled young man in Dallas now.
In his three seasons with the Raiders, McClain posted decent numbers but failed to live up to his award-winning reputation. His lack of coverage ability and propensity for mental errors landed him on the bench early into his third season. And an incident that took place at practice in late November of that year, where he was asked to leave after allegedly screaming at head coach Dennis Allen, had McClain declaring via social media that he was mentally done being a Raider. The organization granted that wish, releasing the former first round pick in April of 2013.
A mere five days later, the Baltimore Ravens signed McClain. But his third arrest in two years just a few days later meant his second chance in Baltimore was in jeopardy. A month later McClain elected to retire himself, citing he needed to get his personal life in order. In his three seasons as a professional, McClain recorded 244 total tackles and 7.0 seven sacks.
To give you an idea of this guy’s mentality at the time of his first retirement, McClain was arrested early last year after being pulled over for a tinted-window violation. When signing the ticket, the young man signed “”(Expletive) y’all”. When asked to sign his real name, McClain claimed that he already had and was promptly taken into custody. This incident, along with his other arrests, clearly indicate a clear disdain for authority figures.
But also consider that this is a young man who has also essentially been on his own since he was 15. A son of an estranged father and an abusive bi-polar mother, McClain’s off the field problems are as big a concern as his on the field ones.
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