Former Oakland Raiders
linebacker Rolando McClain
is negotiating a contract with the Baltimore Ravens
, who must replace their two starting inside linebackers.
"It's a move that can't go wrong and I'm looking forward to playing in Baltimore as the Ravens run the same or very similar defense as I was a part of at the University of Alabama," McClain told the Madison Weekly News. "Ray Lewis
retired after winning the Super Bowl and I look to fill his slot. No one can fill his shoes, but I can fill his slot. I just want to fill out the shoes of Rolando McClain. This is a perfect fit for me personally.
"The offseason program in Baltimore begins next week. I've been working out on my own. Playing football is like riding a bike. You never forget."
McClain was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft but didn't last in Oakland, where production on the field were only part of the organization's issue. McClain was formally granted permission to seek a trade and, when interest wasn't there, released on waivers.
McClain, 23, developed in Alabama's 3-4 defense with experience at inside and outside linebacker. His age, and skill set, will make him less risky as a reclamation project in that his best football shouldn't be in his past if he fully commits to being a professional.
At 23, McClain is just one year older than NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked inside linebackers Kevin Minter and Manti Te'o. He was arrested on a weapons charge for an incident in which McClain allegedly held a gun to a victim's head and then aimed it just over his right ear and fired.
He was suspended by the Raiders late last season following an argument with coach Dennis Allen about being benched.
The Ravens drafted former McClain teammate Courtney Upshaw in 2012 and could pair the former Crimson Tide tandem in a revamped defense. General manager Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama alumnus.
Baltimore's Super Bowl starters, Ray Lewis (retired) and Dannell Ellerbe (free agency), are gone and veteran backup Brendon Ayanbadejo was released.
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