It appears the Rolando McClain story has finally come to an end in Baltimore.
Less than a week after completing a disappointing workout with the Ravens and being reinstated from the reserve-retired list, the 24-year-old linebacker told ESPN’s Seth Wickersham that he’s walking away from the NFL for good.
“I gotta follow my heart. It ain’t football,” McClain told ESPN in a text message. “If football made me complete I would play. But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. … This means I’m done.”
McClain reportedly arrived late for last week’s workout and was unable to pass a conditioning test, but the Ravens appeared willing to allow the former Oakland Raiders linebacker to attend workouts in Owings Mills as they began their offseason conditioning program on Monday. Instead, the day marked the latest bizarre chapter for McClain, who signed a one-year contract with the Ravens last April before subsequently being arrested days later and abruptly retiring from the NFL.
The former University of Alabama product had remained in contact with general manager Ozzie Newsome, who appeared willing to give McClain a chance to reboot his once-promising NFL career. Head coach John Harbaugh maintained a guarded stance on the troubled linebacker when he was asked about his potential return at last month’s league meetings in Orlando.
“It all depends on a couple things,” Harbaugh said. “Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up? He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he’s working, how hard he’s working at Alabama right now. If he’s working his rear end off, then I’m kind of excited about him. If he’s not, then I’ve got no interest in him being on our team.”
Baltimore retained McClain’s rights after his retirement last May that came weeks after he signed a one-year, $700,000 contract that featured no guaranteed money.
The eighth overall selection of the 2010 draft, McClain played three inconsistent seasons with the Oakland Raiders while accumulating 246 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, and 20 pass breakups in 38 starts.