Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones recently drew comparisons to Rolando McClain’s recent suspension to five-time Super Bowl champion Charles Haley.
With the Dallas Cowboys recently receiving news that their starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain will be suspended for the first 10-games of the season, some have been calling for his immediate release from the team.
The 27-year old linebacker was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 regular season as well. Both suspensions were due to multiple failed drug tests, which resulted in violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Twice retired prior to joining the Cowboys via a trade in 2014, the mercurial McClain has found more success in Dallas than either of the other two teams who have owned his rights as a professional in the NFL.
Those being the Oakland Raiders, the team that drafted him eighth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. And then the Baltimore Ravens, the team that signed McClain when the Raiders released him after only three seasons.
While a member of the Ravens, McClain never played a single down for the franchise as he opted instead to retire. Then a failed comeback/workout for Baltimore turned bad and into a second retirement before the Cowboys came calling later that offseason.
While in Dallas, McClain has surprisingly played well. He’s recorded a total of 161 tackles, 3.0 sacks, three interceptions and one defensive touchdown in 24 games. But the problem hasn’t been McClain’s play on the field as much as the drama off of it.
Outside of his obvious drug-related issues, the veteran linebacker refused to attend voluntary workouts this offseason to reportedly the Cowboys coaching staff’s dismay. That’s bad news for a player with a history of being out of shape and a tendency rely too heavily on his natural talent instead.
But it was those same Cowboys coaches that apparently lobbied owner and general manager Jerry Jones too keep McClain on the team following his latest suspension. Despite his flaws, they know what a player of his caliber can mean to a team. And it reminded Jones of a Hall of Fame player who was forced to sit out a portion of a season once, only to come up big when it counted in the Super Bowl.
"“I know Charles Haley didn’t get to play much during the regular season when we won the Super Bowl when Barry Switzer was our coach.” Jones told reporters recently during an impromptu interview on the team’s official website concerning the future of McClain in Dallas. “But he came in during the playoffs and came in during the Super Bowl and made a difference. So, you just want to think it through. And of course if you find anytime something that really makes the decision for you then there’s no need to going into other reasons. And probably our [salary] cap situation makes the decision for us.”"
Haley’s situation was much different than McClain’s suspension. But Jones is certainly hoping for a similar outcome. Haley played the first 10 games of the regular season in 1995 before suffering a back injury that would sideline him. The Hall of Fame defensive end would return to start in Super Bowl XXX six weeks after having back surgery. Haley even recorded a sack in the victory.
McClain is undoubtedly talented. And he could certainly help the Cowboys win games down the stretch. Although they may eventually decide otherwise, it appears Dallas is set to wait out Rolando’s suspension and see if the veteran linebacker can give them a boost late in the season…and possibly during the playoffs as well.