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In and of itself, Rolando McClain reportedly getting arrested over the weekend in Alabama on firearm and drug charges wouldn’t typically be a career-ending incident. Plenty of NFL players have returned after such transgressions in the past.
But for McClain, who amazingly is still only 27 years old, he has made a career of troublesome and bizarre off-field incidents — ones that far have trumped his NFL accomplishments.
Who is going to take a chance on him now, even with his talent and relatively young age?
McClain was stopped by Hartselle police on Friday for a window tint violation, but the officer in the case smelled marijuana and proceeded to search the vehicle, finding marijuana and a firearm inside. McClain was released on a $2,000 cash bond.
“He had just got off the interstate and was in Morgan County for less than three minutes [before he was pulled over],” McClain’s lawyer, Carl Cole, told the Decatur (Ala.) Daily. “He was pulled over for the window tint, which led to the other stuff. I hate to quote Nick Saban, but it is what it is.”
The former Alabama star was selected eighth overall in the 2010 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, but McClain’s career has gone sideways — with three different teams. He played well for the Raiders at first but eventually saw his playing time reduced and was waived by the Raiders in April of 2013 after a string of incidents that the club no longer could overlook.
McClain was claimed by the Baltimore Ravens, but he abruptly retired a month later, citing a need to take care of his anger issues. The Ravens retained his rights and traded him to the Dallas Cowboys, where McClain actually revived his career in 2014 with a shockingly good season, even though it ended with a slew of injuries and multiple concussions. That was followed up by suspensions of four games to start the 2015 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, followed by a suspension of 10 more games in 2016 for a second violation.
In December 2016 McClain — after not reporting to the Cowboys in August — was suspended indefinitely following a third violation, and he remains on the team’s suspended list (though not on their official roster), reportedly overweight and addicted to codeine.
So imagining any team taking a chance now on McClain feels remote at best. His career almost certainly is over.
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