Rolando McClain

Cowboys Cut Rolando McClain

The Cowboys will release linebacker Rolando McClain, as Calvin Watkins of Dallas Morning News tweets. McClain was recently granted conditional reinstatement into the NFL, but this move was expected due to McClain’s ongoing personal issues.

McClain, a talented former first-round pick of the Raiders, has battled off-the-field demons for years. The Cowboys gambled on him after the Raiders gave up on him and, for a period, that gamble paid off. After years away from the game, the juice is no longer worth the squeeze for the Cowboys. At least, not until he’s able to get back on the right track.

In 2014, the Cowboys acquired McClain via trade and used him in 13 games. He finished that season with 81 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. After that, he was hit with his first – but not last – NFL suspension. In 2015, he was limited to just eleven games, though he still tallied 80 tackles and a pair of sacks.

After signing another one-year deal with the Cowboys during the 2016 offseason, McClain was handed a ten-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He then failed another drug test midway through the season, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. After his third ban in two years, McClain was cuffed on a 2017 arrest for firearm and drug charges.

We haven’t seen McClain on the field since the 2015 season and it remains to be seen whether the 30-year-old is in game shape.

Rolando McClain Gets Conditional Reinstatement

Linebacker Rolando McClain, conceivably, could make a return to the NFL. After three full seasons away from the sport, the league has granted him a conditional reinstatement (Twitter link via Mike Florio of PFT).

McClain, a talented former first-round pick of the Raiders, has battled off-the-field demons for years. The Cowboys gambled on him after the Raiders gave up on him and, for a period, that gamble paid off.

In 2014, the Cowboys acquired McClain via trade and used him in 13 games. He finished that season with 81 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. After that, he was hit with his first – but not last – NFL suspension. In 2015, he was limited to just eleven games, though he still tallied 80 tackles and a pair of sacks.

After signing another one-year deal with the Cowboys during the 2016 offseason, McClain was handed a ten-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He then failed another drug test midway through the season, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. After his third ban in two years, McClain was cuffed on a 2017 arrest for firearm and drug charges.

We haven’t seen McClain on the field since the 2015 season, but the door is at least open for him to sign with a club for the upcoming year. It remains to be seen whether the 30-year-old is in game shape, however.

Latest On Cowboys, Rolando McClain

We learned yesterday that embattled linebacker Rolando McClain is looking to make an NFL comeback, but it doesn’t sound like his former team will necessarily welcome him back with open arm. During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones quickly shut down rumors of a potential return.

“Rolando has got to work on his off-the-field situations before he can even begin to think about being a productive player on the field,” Jones said (via Make Lane of WFAA Sports on Twitter). “And I certainly know he’s on that journey. We certainly wish him the best. But the league policies are what they are. We certainly know that we’re accountable to them, as is Rolando. I think that was a settlement that is final. Certainly hope that Rolando is focused on getting himself better and ultimately get himself in a good situation first in terms of the things that he’s battling off the field.”

Meanwhile, Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes that the Cowboys still own McClain’s rights. The team placed the linebacker on the reserve/suspended list back in 2016 after he was hit with a 10-game suspension. However, Williams cautions that if McClain earned reinstatement, the Cowboys would likely cut him. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $5MM contract with Dallas back in 2016.

The Cowboys decision to trade for the linebacker in 2014 paid off, as the linebacker would go on to appear in 13 games for his new team, compiling 81 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. He earned his first suspension from the NFL the following offseason, limiting him to only eleven games in 2015, although he still collected 80 tackles and a pair of sacks.

After signing that previously-mentioned one-year deal with the Cowboys during the 2016 offseason, McClain was handed a ten-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He then failed another drug test midway through the campaign, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. After his third ban in two years, McClain was cuffed on a 2017 arrest for firearm and drug charges.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rolando McClain Eyeing NFL Comeback

Former Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain is hoping to make an NFL return, as Matt Zenitz of AL.com writes. McClain, 29, hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2015, but he says he feels better than he has in years past. 

Every time I got in my linebacker position, it was bone on bone grind,” said McClain, the former No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. “Not only do I feel good, I’m recovered and I’m rested. I feel better now because I know I’ll be playing with two legs.”

McClain had three productive seasons with the Raiders, though they were marred by controversy. In 2012, he was booted from team practices after several incidents, and McClain subsequently took to Facebook to complain about the organization, going as far as to say that he wanted “to be anywhere besides here.” He was released by the team the next offseason before briefly catching on with the Ravens. However, less than a month after signing with Baltimore, McClain suddenly announced his retirement.

The Cowboys then took a bit of a risk trading for the linebacker in 2014, despite the fact that McClain had sat out the previous season. It ended up paying off for Dallas, as the linebacker would go on to appear in 13 games for his new team, compiling 81 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. He earned his first suspension from the NFL the following offseason, limiting him to only eleven games in 2015, although he still collected 80 tackles and a pair of sacks.

After signing another one-year deal with the Cowboys during the 2016 offseason, McClain was handed a ten-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He then failed another drug test midway through the season, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. After his third ban in two years, McClain was cuffed on a 2017 arrest for firearm and drug charges.

Given his off-the-field issues and a reported addiction to “purple drank,” it remains to be seen if McClain will get another NFL opportunity.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: NFL Suspends Gates, McClain, Richardson

The days leading up to the Fourth of July aren’t necessarily a hotbed of activity in the NFL. But, sometimes, the league office will use the cover of the holiday weekend to drop some unfavorable news. That’s what the NFL did on July 2, 2015 when it announced the suspensions of three notable players. 

Three years ago today, the league announced suspensions for Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson, and Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain. All three players were banned for the first four games of the season – Gates for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy and McClain and Richardson for substance abuse policy violations.

Gates issued a statement soon after the suspension came down, saying that he tested positive for a substance that he was unaware was on the league’s banned list. At the time, it felt like the ban could signal the end of the Gates era in San Diego and the beginning of the Ladarius Green era. Green had flashed his immense physical tools in the past, but was buried behind Gates on the tight end depth chart. Green was productive in Gates’ absence, but Gates came storming back when he took the field and finished ahead of Green in all major statistical categories. In the following year, Green went on to sign an ill-fated contract with the Steelers and Gates remained as the team’s primary tight end.

Richardson’s suspension, meanwhile, probably hurt his standing with his team. Richardson’s suspension gave rookie Leonard Williams a chance to shine and further reinforced the perception of him as a bad teammate. The former first-round pick turned in the worst season of his career to date and lost upwards of $600K in salary and bonus money as a result of the suspension. The Jets tried hard to trade Richardson throughout the 2016 season, but could not find any takers. Then, just before the start of the ’17 campaign, they shipped him to the Seahawks for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick.

McClain’s suspension was the result of violating the league’s substance abuse policy for a fourth time in his NFL career. In a statement, McClain vowed that he would “not break the rules of [his] profession in the future.” Unfortunately, he was unable to keep that promise. In 2016, McClain was suspended for substance abuse yet again, this time for ten games. He later failed another drug test midway through the season, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. McClain has reportedly battled an addiction to “purple drank” (a mixture of codeine-based cold medication and soda) and there has been no word of a potential comeback in some time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Rolando McClain

When linebacker Rolando McClain was handed a 10-game suspension on this date in 2016, it was assumed he’d be back for the Cowboys’ late-season run. However, two years later, it’s uncertain if the 28-year-old will ever play in the NFL again.

The 2010 first-round pick had three productive seasons with the Raiders, although it was accompanied by its fair share of controversy. In 2012, he was booted from team practices after several incidents, and McClain subsequently took to Facebook to complain about the organization, going as far as to say that he wanted “to be anywhere besides here.” He was released by the team the next offseason before briefly catching on with the Ravens. However, less than a month after signing with Baltimore, McClain suddenly announced his retirement.

The Cowboys then took a bit of a risk trading for the linebacker in 2014, despite the fact that McClain had sat out the previous season. It ended up paying off for Dallas, as the linebacker would go on to appear in 13 games for his new team, compiling 81 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. He earned his first suspension from the NFL the following offseason, limiting him to only 11 games in 2015, although he still collected 80 tackles and a pair of sacks.

After signing another one-year deal with the Cowboys during the 2016 offseason, McClain was handed the 10-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He then failed another drug test midway through the season, and the NFL slapped him with an indefinite suspension. Following his third ban in two years, it doesn’t sound like McClain will be making a return anytime soon. Since he was suspended indefinitely, we’ve only heard one bit of news about McClain: a 2017 arrest for firearm and drug charges.

Two years ago today, the Cowboys were surely disappointed hearing about McClain’s suspension. However, it’s unlikely they would have thought that he’d be out of the NFL two years later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys LB Rolando McClain Arrested

Rolando McClain was arrested in Georgia today on firearm and drug charges, as Anna Beahm of DecaturDaily.com writes. The Cowboys linebacker was initially pulled over for a window tint violation when he was found with marijuana and a gun that did not have a corresponding permit. McClain is facing charges for second-degree possession of marijuana, carrying a firearm without a permit, and a “misdemeanor equipment violation” stemming from his tinted windows. Rolando McClain

This is yet another sad development in the life and career of McClain. His most recent violation of the league’s substance abuse policy led to the league placing him under indefinite suspension in 2016. Right now, it’s hard to envision him playing for the Cowboys or any other NFL team in the near future.

McClain bounced back from his off-the-field demons in 2014 when he turned in a strong season with Dallas. He followed that up with another solid campaign in 2015 in which he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 linebacker. In that suspension-shortened season, McClain recorded 80 total tackles, two sacks, and three pass deflections.

Fun fact: This is McClain’s second known arrest involving illegally tinted windows on his car. He was first cuffed for the offense in January 2013 by Decatur police when he signed his citation as “F— y’all.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rolando McClain Banned Indefinitely

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended indefinitely, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. McClain’s stems from his latest violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Rolando McClain (vertical)

[RELATED: Cowboys Expect Claiborne To Return This Year]

McClain reportedly wants to return to the team, but it’s not clear if the Cowboys want to have him back. Publicly, at least, owner Jerry Jones has said that he wants the linebacker to rejoin the club. Of course, that’s easy to say when McClain is a long way from being reinstated to the league.

It should be noted that since McClain has been on the reserve/did not report list this season, it’s possible his one-year Cowboys deal could be applied to 2017. But, the Cowboys might not want to pursue that if McClain is not sober.

In 2015, McClain graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 linebacker. In his suspension-shortened season, McClain recorded 80 total tackles, two sacks, and three pass deflections.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rolando McClain Suspended Another Year

5:56pm: Jerry Jones said after Dallas’ Week 11 win the team wants McClain back after his suspension ends, whenever that will be.

We certainly, when he’s eligible, we won’t release him and when he’s eligible he’ll be a part of this team,” Jones said, via Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “He had gotten in good shape. We’ll just deal with what I’ll find out with his status from the league.”

Since McClain has been on the reserve/did not report list this season, it’s possible his one-year Cowboys deal could be applied to 2017. But Jones did not want to speculate on that for fear of punishment from the league.

I can’t talk about those items because it might imply that I knew something about his status,” Jones said, via George, “and I don’t want to lose a draft pick.”

If McClain is suspended for the bulk of 2017 as well, it would be a stretch he returns. He’ll turn 28 in July but will have, if this additional ban goes through, missed over 30 games by the time he’s eligible again. Jaylon Smith is expected to be given a strong chance at winning the middle-‘backer job next season, although the second-round rookie’s complex injury status leaves that reality far from certain as well.

8:20am: Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for another year, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reports that McClain recently missed another drug test. McClain was already serving a 10-game suspension for testing positive for opiates, a suspension that was scheduled to be lifted tomorrow, but now he will have wait until November 2017 before he is eligible to apply for reinstatement. He is, however, expected to appeal the ban.

Of course, even when he is eligible to return, it is unclear whether another NFL club will give him an opportunity to suit up. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the Cowboys themselves doubt that McClain will ever play again. Dallas will keep McClain on the reserve/did not report list until his suspension becomes official.

McClain’s return to prominence with the Cowboys in 2014 was an unexpected feel-good story, and he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 28th-best linebacker in 2015. He was rewarded with a one-year, $4MM deal with Dallas this past offseason, several months before his 10-game suspension was announced. He has infamously battled an addiction to “purple drank,” and he compounded his problems by skipping voluntary team activities in the spring and by failing to turn up to training camp. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end, but it is difficult to envision the former Alabama star getting his career back on track.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tony Romo, Rolando McClain

Before his classy press conference, Tony Romo politely lobbied Cowboys brass for an open quarterback competition, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes. Not wanting to mess with their success, the Cowboys didn’t go for it.

Tony’s smart,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “He’s very bright. And so when he came out and said it, in the end, I don’t think it took him long to figure that wouldn’t be a great thing for the team. We’ve got a good thing, and no one wants Dak looking over his shoulder.”

With a league-best 8-1 record, it’s no surprise that the Cowboys have decided to go with Prescott, but Romo’s petition to play was also expected. The veteran has taken the news hard, but he has also handled the situation with class.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Jones says that having Tony Romo on the team next year is tenable, even when considering his contract, Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram tweets. Jones added that he believes Romo is capable of quarterbacking a Super Bowl team and he has “no plans for him not to be a part” of the Cowboys (Twitter links). Romo is currently slated to earn a $14MM salary for the 2017 season and, in theory, Dallas could cut him for $5.1MM in cap savings. They could also find a decent trade market for No. 9. Multiple teams will be seeking a quarterback and there will be very few quality options in this year’s draft class.
  • Jones says Rolando McClain will not be back with team when his suspension is formally lifted on Monday, Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram tweets. That doesn’t necessarily rule out a McClain return at some point this season, though the Cowboys might not want to go down that road. The linebacker reportedly wants to rejoin the team for the final stretch of the season.
  • Teammate Jason Witten doesn’t think Tony Romo is thinking about retiring anytime soon.