November 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Nate Byham (82) is tackled by Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) after making a catch in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Since his first retirement in May of 2013, McClain has seemingly gotten his life back in order. He moved his wife and two children to Tuscaloosa, Alabama and enrolled back in school. Earlier this offseason, McClain meet with the Ravens about a possible comeback. In April, he actually worked out for the team. But McClain continued to display his immaturity by showing up late to the workout and not even being in shape enough to complete the conditioning drill.
Still, the Ravens reinstated McClain with the intention of having him attended their next offseason program. Then, McClain up and retired once again telling ESPN on April 22nd:
"“I gotta follow my heart. It ain’t football. If football made me complete I would play. But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. … This means I’m done…Now I know God has something else planned for me and that my life is bigger than football.””"
.Just a little more than a month later, McClain’s rights have been acquired by the Cowboys. Despite McClain’s agent, Pat Dye, telling ESPN Dallas that McClain sounds as excited about football as he’s ever heard him, it’s still unclear if the young man has the passion for the game anymore (or at all). But according to Dye, McClain has had a recent change of heart:
"““I see, and Rolando sees, the Dallas situation as a great opportunity given Sean’s injury, and you’re talking about a great franchise and a great organization…With kind of what he’s done going back to his time with the Raiders, 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. He’s just 24 years old. He’s very talented. He’s very bright. Tough. Competitive. There’s a reason he was a top-10 pick at a position that is almost impossible to be a top-10 pick. Hopefully this situation will go smoothly.”"
As far as money is concerned, McClain is a very low risk for Dallas. He brings with him a one year, non-guaranteed $700,000 contract from Baltimore. Although incentives could have him making as much as $1.1 million in total this season. In order to add McClain to the current roster, the Cowboys have now placed Lee on the Injured Reserve list, killing any chances of Dallas’ defensive leader making a comeback this season. The recovery time for Lee’s most recent ACL injury is six to nine months anyway.
Dallas has been known for resurrecting careers as of late. The latest examples being defensive end George Selvie and defensive tackle Nick Hayden, both of whom were picked up off the streets last offseason and turned into NFL starters by now defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. It appears the old ball coach will certainly have his hands full motivating the mercurial McClain.
The Cowboys have continued taking those low-risk/high reward chances this offseason on other NFL lost causes. They acquired running back Ryan Williams and wideout LaRon Byrd, both from the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year. Both of the young prospects’ careers have been hurt by injury. Dallas also acquired former first round quarterback Brandon Weeden, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, back in March. Defensive tackles Amobi Okoye and Terrell McClain could also be added to that growing list, making Dallas the perfect place for a second chance for players like Rolando McClain.
Still, McClain’s recent actions in Baltimore indicate he hasn’t mature enough to take playing in the NFL sincerely. And his addition to this young and talented Cowboys team will probably be short-lived. But McClain’s upside is undeniable. And Dallas could be his very last chance to make it in this league. And that fact alone could pay off big for the Cowboys if McClain finally decides to start taking his professional career seriously.