Linebacker Rolando McClain made the best decision of his life—retiring from the NFL.
Why? Well, to get the circumstances in his life in order before being kicked out of the league.
At the age of 23, McClain informed the reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens Wednesday that he was retiring from the game of football.
No one knows the reason behind McClain’s sudden decision, but due to the issues in his life, the former standout linebacker from Alabama created a solid foundation of positioning himself to get things in order with a chance to return to the NFL as a better man.
“Rolando let me know that he plans to retire from the NFL,” said Ravens’ general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome, in a released statement. “We have placed him on the Reserve/Retired list.”
McClain was originally a first-round selection (eighth-overall) of the Oakland Raiders in the 2010 NFL Draft. He registered 274 tackles (195 solo), 6.5 sacks (-42.5 yards), one interception, one forced fumble and 23 passes defensed in 41 career games with the Raiders.
Combined with great size (6-4, 259-pounds), speed and football intelligence, McClain should have gone to the Pro Bowl at least twice in his brief NFL career, but his common sense (or the lack thereof), decision making and behavior got him arrested three times in 16 months.
In 2011, McClain was charged with third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and illegal discharge of a firearm within city’s limit, which he shot a gun inches from the accuser’s head. Fortunately for McClain, his accuser dropped the charges.
In January, he was arrested in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama after writing a false name and placed an obscenity on a traffic ticket. On April 5, the Raiders had enough and they released the troubled linebacker.
Apparently, with great talent, doors will open. And for the reckless McClain, a golden opportunity presented itself when Baltimore opened its doors and signed him to a one-year, $700,000 deal.
With the future first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis out of the picture, the need for a solid middle linebacker was at a high priority after 17 years, although the Ravens have been in search for a replacement for the past few years.
McClain was believed to be the man in the middle for the Ravens, if he could get his act together and stay on the straight and narrow path.
McClain struck again as he was arrested on April 22 and charged for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Despite heavy speculation of being released, the Ravens were still willing to allow McClain to be a member of the Ravens. Newsome and Ravens felt that once McClain came to Baltimore, they could help the talented, but difficult linebacker to become a solid player and a standup citizen.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the Ravens will never get the chance to work with McClain.
But will they?
The Ravens’ organization is outstanding when it comes to handling players and working with them, and if there was a franchise that could help turn McClain around for the better, Baltimore was the place, with a strong fan base.
McClain has given himself the opportunity to start fresh in the NFL, by way of his retirement—assuming if he gets his life in order, and ultimately, wants to play again. Through the right counseling, positive influences and self-motivation, McClain could make a successful return to the NFL because he is naturally gifted and time is on his side.
And the one team that can provide the solid support system for McClain and truly move pass his past would be—the Ravens.
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