Cowboys Jerry Jones on Rolando McClain: “He gets slack”
The Dallas Cowboys are willing to let starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain miss voluntary OTA sessions because of what he can do for them on the field.
In sports, special players get special privileges. And that apparently applies to the Dallas Cowboys and starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain.
Now in his third season with the Cowboys, McClain has yet to attend a single voluntary Organized Team Activities session in Dallas. The Cowboys traded for the mercurial linebacker in July of 2014 as a replacement for injured linebacker Sean Lee.
Last year, McClain missed the entire offseason program due to knee surgery and was suspended the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Now, the former first round selection is going to miss all of this year’s voluntary OTA’s and possibly next week’s mandatory mini-camp due to what is being called a family situation.
McClain’s family lives in Alabama and that’s where he spends the majority of his offseason. But according to Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, the team is willing to cut the 26-year old linebacker some slack due to the combined 161 tackles, 3.0 sacks and three interceptions he’s recorded in Dallas the past two seasons.
"“That’s an understanding we have when he came through the door,” Jones told KRLD-FM radio in Dallas via USA Today on Wednesday. “He has to be there to spend time with them. He gets slack. But you have to earn a special consideration. And to some degree, if you look at his impact when he is there with us on the field, what he can do for our team, if you look at his background in the NFL, how he’s evolved, I’m glad he’s a Cowboy.”"
But it appears that the Cowboys coaches don’t feel the same as their owner. According to DallasCowboys.com football analyst Bryan Broaddus, the team’s coaching staff isn’t very happy with McClain right now.
Obviously, we are not being told the whole story here. And that’s fine. What we do know is that these sessions are voluntary, which means a player may opt out of them if they choose. Jones went on imply McClain is using this time to spend with his children who live in Alabama. And they are likely the main reason he even plays pro sports. So no one can blame him for wanting to spend more time with his kids that he likely doesn’t see very much of during the grueling NFL season.
But, we also know, that the Cowboys value practice time and believe that it is limited and precious. And that every extra moment you have to improve your craft should be taken advantage of.
But McClain has retired twice before. And from all accounts, he enjoys his time away from football. As long as the Cowboys brass are fine with it, I’m not sure fans can be all that critical of his inaction.
Still, the fact that members of their coaching staff are not happy about McClain’s absence should raise some major red flags. Especially since the Cowboys essentially drafted his replacement in Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round of April’s NFL Draft.
But the fact the Cowboys have signed the veteran to three one-year contracts should tell you exactly how they feel about his future in Dallas.
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