Posted on 21 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 21 April 2014 by Luke Jones
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.
Posted on 18 April 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By; Brett Dickinson & Barry Kamen
BD: Barry, its been an interesting week for “Ravens” middle linebacker Rolando McClain. After showing up a hour late for his team workout, he didn’t have a good outing. McClain struggled the entire time on the field, being winded and could not even finish. But the Ravens still activated him off the “retired” list. What do you make of the Rolando McClain situation and how will the team handle him?
BK: The case of Rolando McClain is a curious one indeed. A starter for a BCS National Championship team during his time at Alabama. A top 10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Four arrests, including one not long after signing with the Ravens. Retirement from the NFL at age 24. Now, a potential comeback seems more like a dream than reality for McClain following this week’s workout with the team.
Seth Wickersham’s piece on Rolando McClain is a must-read for all interested Ravens fans. Written last October, it appeared that McClain’s retreat to Tuscaloosa helped clear his mind of things that were bothering him as an NFL player. The Alabama connection cannot be ignored; Rolando is a cousin of former Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain, and general manager Ozzie Newsome loves getting players from his alma mater. With the news that the team activated him off of the retired/reserved list, it appears that the Ravens are committed to having McClain as a part of their team for the summer.
What bothers me most about the situation is McClain showing up late to his workout. This is the National Football League; be punctual. If an opportunity to play for the Baltimore Ravens does not mean enough to you to show up early, or even on time, you are in the wrong profession. With the NFL Draft approaching in the next couple weeks, there will be plenty of inside linebacker prospects who were not blessed with the talent of McClain, but will be working furiously to make an NFL team. Any expectations for McClain to see the field with the Ravens seem far-fetched. The Ravens should treat him as an undrafted free agent prospect, only giving him repetitions with the third-team players in drills, to see if it lights a fire. I have my doubts that there was any passion for the game in the first.
In another curious case, it was reported earlier in the week by NFL.com’s Albert Breer that the Ravens offered defensive tackle Haloti Ngata a long-term extension to help alleviate Ngata’s large cap number. However, the offer was turned down by Ngata’s camp. Brett, your thoughts on the Ravens making this kind of offer to Ngata, and why would Ngata turn it down?
BD: This whole situation would have me pulling out my hair, if only I had any (I guess I can tug on my beard for a while). First off, the idea of extending Ngata by the team is simply ridiculous. We already went through this once, when the team re-upped with Terrell Suggs earlier this off season. It seems like a mistake to just push off cap issues by keeping around a player on the decline; no matter what they have done for the organization in the past.
The NFL has been progressively becoming a young man’s game, with 30-something players becoming expendable because of wear and tear and high salary demands. Ngata has not been the dominant player he once was for years, but still can be productive in the NFL for a couple of seasons. The problem is what does it cost against the team’s salary cap?
The Ravens have been pretty masterful of working around financial restrictions, but it will catch up to them sooner than later. Player loyalty is nice to see, but is a dieing breed in the NFL. Ozzie might have to catch up on this to keep the Ravens at a consistently high level of competition in the near future.
As far as Ngata turning down the deal, I believe the deal may have had an “out clause” where the team could cut him in a year or two. We obviously do not have the figures, but it could have cost him money in the long term, as he is already due a large sum the next couple years. In the end who am I to talk ill of Ozzie Newsome? But we may be seeing some faults in his approach. The team and the player may be better that this deal did not work out.
Posted on 17 April 2014 by Luke Jones
Only two days after Rolando McClain reportedly bombed his workout with the Ravens, the linebacker was reinstated from the reserve-retired list.
It’s unclear what this ultimately means for the 24-year-old’s future in Baltimore, but the administrative move allows McClain to potentially take part in the offseason conditioning program set to begin on Monday. The Ravens own the rights to McClain after signing him to a one-year contract last year before he abruptly retired from the NFL following an arrest in Decatur, Ala. last spring.
The organization could monitor his progress in workouts before ultimately making a decision to move forward with him on the roster or to grant him his release.
McClain gained plenty of negative attention for his failed workout on Tuesday when he arrived more than 20 minutes late and couldn’t pass the team’s conditioning test, making this latest development somewhat surprising. The University of Alabama product has remained in contact with general manager and fellow Crimson Tide alum Ozzie Newsome over the last few months.
The eighth overall pick of the 2010 draft, McClain played three up-and-down seasons with the Oakland Raiders while accumulating 173 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, and 20 pass breakups in 38 starts.
Posted on 15 April 2014 by Luke Jones
The latest chapter in the Rolando McClain saga was once again a disappointing one for the retired 24-year-old linebacker as he failed to impress the Ravens in a Tuesday workout.
According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, the 2010 first-round pick couldn’t finish a conditioning test or complete any drills and even showed up late for the workout. Needless to say, this wasn’t the kind of impression McClain could afford to make after he abruptly retired from the NFL last year following an arrest in Decatur, Ala.
General manager Ozzie Newsome has remained in contact with McClain, but coach John Harbaugh has remained skeptical when asked about McClain potentially returning to the Ravens. The former Oakland Raiders linebacker confirmed earlier this offseason that he was preparing himself for a comeback.
“It all depends on a couple things,” Harbaugh said at last month’s league meetings in Orlando. “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.”
The Ravens retain McClain’s rights after signing the troubled linebacker to a one-year contract last spring.
Posted on 25 March 2014 by Luke Jones
Speaking to reporters gathered in Orlando for this week’s NFL owners meetings, Ravens coach John Harbaugh touched on an array of topics ranging Tuesday morning, from the status of running back Ray Rice to the backup quarterback position.
A day after owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that Rice would remain with the organization despite his legal trouble, Harbaugh reiterated his support for the troubled 27-year-old while acknowledging the obvious embarrassment felt over the Ravens’ three arrests this offseason that have prompted many to question team leadership. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson and offensive lineman Jah Reid were also arrested in a three-week period that started with Rice’s domestic violence incident in Atlantic City last month.
Harbaugh confirmed what many assumed in stating that newly-acquired veteran Jeremy Zuttah projects to be the Ravens’ starting center in 2014, replacing incumbent and 2012 fourth-round pick Gino Gradkowski.
“We traded for Jeremy for him to be the starting center. That’s the plan,” Harbaugh told reporters in Orlando. “[I] had a conversation with Gino yesterday. It was good communication and he’s in a good place. Gino’s a solid young guy. Jeremy is a more experienced center/guard in this league. The thing I liked on tape – we studied him pretty hard – he’s a big, rangy guy. He’s got length, he’s got size in there, he’s got experience and he’s also got, we think, a knack for the scheme we’re going to run offensively. He’s a good fit for us.”
The coach added that the organization would prefer to keep Kelechi Osemele at left guard and views second-year lineman Rick Wagner as the current starting right tackle among players under contract. Of course, the Ravens are expected to continue the search for more help in free agency and the draft, so the offensive line remains fluid beyond the four known starters: left tackle Eugene Monroe, right guard Marshal Yanda, Zuttah, and Osemele.
After recent reports that the Ravens were interested in quarterback Brandon Weeden before he signed in Dallas, Harbaugh confirmed that the organization is exploring the possibility of adding another quarterback. Current backup Tyrod Taylor has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but the head coach confirmed that the Ravens haven’t been overwhelmed with how the 2011 sixth-round pick has played in limited opportunities. Baltimore has carried only two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster in each of the last four seasons.
“We’ve been very happy with Tyrod, and we feel like he has a great future,” Harbaugh said, “but we have been a little disappointed how he’s played in games certainly. We feel like he’s a lot better than he’s showed. I know he feels that way too. We feel like Tyrod’s best football is by far definitely in front of him, but he’s only got one year left with us, so we need to add a quarterback into the mix, whether it be offseason or in the draft.”
The tight end position remains a point of discussion as Harbaugh confirmed interest in re-signing Ed Dickson while acknowledging interest in former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels, who obviously has strong ties with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and new tight ends coach Brian Pariani. Dennis Pitta and University of Maryland product Matt Furstenburg are the only tight ends currently under contract.
Reporters asked Harbaugh about the status of retired linebacker Rolando McClain, whose rights are still owned by the Ravens. The coach didn’t completely rule out a return for the 24-year-old but added that he hasn’t spoken to McClain and remains skeptical unless he receives proof that the former Oakland Raider is working hard and is serious about returning to football.
“Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up?” Harbaugh said of McClain. “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.”
Harbaugh confirmed that the Ravens will pick up the contract option for 2011 first-round cornerback Jimmy Smith as this is the first year we’ve seen this part of the rookie system come into play after the collective bargaining agreement that went into effect in 2011 standardized four-year contracts for all drafted players. The system does present teams a fifth-year option to use for first-round picks entering the final year of their rookie deals. The Ravens hope to sign both Smith and wide receiver Torrey Smith — also entering the final year of his rookie deal — to long-term extensions to keep them in Baltimore.
Baltimore is still looking to draft a safety despite last week’s signing of Darian Stewart, and Harbaugh offered praise for Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who is projected to be a first-round pick and regarded as the top safety in the draft. General manager Ozzie Newsome said at the start of the offseason that the Ravens would be looking to add a more athletic safety with 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam expected to play closer to the line of scrimmage.
“Safeties are interchangeable these days,” Harbaugh said. “There are certain traits you look for. I’m looking at the safeties now in the draft. You want tacklers and you want guys with range and you wants guys with ball skills.”
The Ravens would also like to add depth on the defensive line following the free-agent departure of Arthur Jones, but 2013 third-round pick Brandon Williams is the current favorite to take Jones’ starting spot.
According to the coach, Kubiak recently put the finishing touches on the Ravens’ new offensive playbook before it was then distributed to players. Harbaugh was also told that quarterback Joe Flacco has plans to get together with his wide receivers for informal throwing sessions before the start of the offseason training program next month.
Posted on 16 May 2013 by Luke Jones
(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)
Since Ravens insider linebacker Rolando McClain surprisingly declared his intention to retire from the NFL on Wednesday afternoon, many have questioned the motives and sincerity of his decision to walk away from football at the age of 23.
Some have even gone as far as suggesting it’s an orchestrated plan to keep McClain out of the limelight while he deals with the fallout of three arrests in the last 16 months and could ultimately lead to his return to the Ravens as early as this August. By placing McClain on the reserve-retired list, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens retain the former 2010 first-round pick’s rights by way of the one-year, $700,000 deal he signed in April.
McClain attempted to clarify his unconventional decision Thursday and made it known that the Ravens had nothing to do with his choice to retire after three tumultuous seasons with the Oakland Raiders and before making it to organized team activities in Owings Mills.
“Clearly, my decision to retire has raised some questions,” McClain said in a statement released to several media outlets. “Quite simply, I love football, but I have decided at this time it is in my best interest to focus on getting my personal life together. Beyond that, I’m not sure what the future holds for me, including football. This was entirely my decision and the Ravens have been very supportive during this process. I am very grateful for the opportunity they gave me and wish them the best of luck in the future. God willing, maybe I’ll play for them one day.”
The details of how McClain intends to get his personal life in order remain unknown as he vowed earlier this offseason that he needed to avoid spending time in his hometown of Decature, Ala., where he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest just 10 days after signing a one-year contract with the Ravens. Of course, the biggest takeaway from his statement was his way of leaving the door open to not only a return to the NFL but also the Ravens.
If McClain is truly committed to making the necessary changes in his life to reverse the treacherous route he’s walked over the last couple years, you hope we’ve heard the last of the 2010 first-round pick on the polite scanner. However, the Ravens shouldn’t be interested in being burned a second time by an individual who showed his appreciation to the organization by being arrested less than two weeks after signing and failing to commit himself to the offseason training program.
The former University of Alabama standout may very well receive another opportunity in the NFL one day, but the Ravens shouldn’t let the fact that they hold his current rights cloud the truth that played out over the better part of a month. They can’t give into temptation and risk looking foolish yet again while sending the wrong message to the current players on the roster.
McClain’s time in Baltimore should be over for good.
Posted on 15 May 2013 by jeffreygilley
That makes two inside linebackers that have retired from the NFL this offseason in Baltimore. Ray Lewis is a future Hall of Fame player and beloved icon in the sports world. Rolando McClain, an immensely talented but troubled individual with off the field issues that prevented him from becoming the star many projected him to become.
When the Ravens signed Rolando McClain, I told myself there could only be two possible outcomes. McClain could resurrect his career under the leadership the Ravens possess. Or, McClain could continue his troubled ways and fail. There could be no in-between.
With McClain’s retirement today, it seems the latter is true. At just 23 years old, Rolando McClain has retired from the NFL.
So where do the Ravens go from here? First of all, the team did not invest much in McClain’s long-term future. Not only was his contract for merely one year, the team also drafted Arthur Brown in the second round of the NFL draft.
Brown will have to step in and start right away. There is still uncertainty surrounding Jameel McClain’s injury and Josh Bynes is largely unproven. But Brown will be able to handle the pressure of starting right away. He is incredibly fast and is a good tackler in space. Brown should be in contention for defensive rookie of the year.
Largely, the Ravens dodged a huge bullet with McClain’s retirement. They have brought in some veteran leaders this offseason and McClain’s terrible attitude could have impacted locker room chemistry. While I love the potential McClain has, I am ultimately happy he has been decided to retire and will never suit up in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.
Another player who could make an impact at inside linebacker could be Bryan Hall. Hall is a former defensive tackle who has changed positions to inside linebacker. Jarret Johnson made a similar change for the Ravens and became a beloved member of the team for a long time.
If the Ravens were to play a game tomorrow, the starters at inside linebacker would most likely be Arthur Brown and Jameel McClain. Brown and McClain are not household names but they have the potential to be a great duo for a long time.
Posted on 15 May 2013 by Luke Jones
(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)
Rolando McClain’s run with the Baltimore Ravens is apparently over as well as his NFL career.
The troubled 23-year-old linebacker has informed the Ravens he’s elected to retire after three tumultuous seasons that started with the Alabama standout being selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2010 draft by Oakland and ended before he even took part in as much as a practice with the Ravens.
“Rolando let me know that he plans to retire from the NFL,” general manager Newsome said in a team statement. “We have placed him on the reserve-retired list.”
McClain signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Ravens on April 12. He became available after Oakland elected to release him and eat roughly $11 million in dead money on their 2013 salary cap to rid themselves of a player with off-field issues as well as a reputation for being a malcontent in the locker room.
The signing drew criticism from many who labeled it as an uncharacteristic move by an organization that prides itself on having strong-character players. McClain faced misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and illegal discharge of a firearm in his hometown of Decatur, Ala. in 2011. The charges were eventually dropped after an original conviction was appealed. The 2009 Butkus Award winner was also arrested in January after failing to sign a citation related to illegal window tint on his vehicle.
Newsome and coach John Harbaugh met with McClain to share their expectations before offering him a deal that included the potential to make $400,000 in incentives to supplement his base salary. McClain followed that initial meeting by being arrested once again in Decatur on April 21 with charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
Despite cries from some to release McClain and then the selection of Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round of last month’s draft, the Ravens appeared committed to giving McClain another opportunity as Newsome and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta never gave any indication that the former Raider’s offseason roster spot was in jeopardy.
The inside linebacker collected 274 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and 23 pass breakups in 41 career games with the Raiders.
Posted on 06 May 2013 by Luke Jones
Troubled Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain can apparently cross one item off his laundry list of legal problems as he has reportedly pleaded guilty to a window tint violation stemming from a January incident.
According to The Sun, McClain entered the plea to avoid appearing in court on Tuesday. The city of Decatur, Ala. has dismissed a charge for providing a false name when McClain was originally pulled over for the window tint violation.
McClain is still due in court in July for charges stemming from April 21 when he was arrested in his hometown for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The incident took place in a Decatur park after police were summoned in response to a dispute.
The 23-year-old linebacker has been arrested three times in less than two years but remains on the Ravens’ offseason roster despite finding trouble less than two weeks after he was signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract that includes up to $400,000 in incentives. None of the money is guaranteed should general manager Ozzie Newsome elect to part ways with the 2010 first-round pick.
The second-round selection of Kansas State inside linebacker Arthur Brown in last month’s draft put McClain’s future in further doubt in many critics’ eyes, but the Ravens have indicated they’re willing to allow due process to play out before making any decision on the troubled linebacker, who spent the first three years of his NFL career in Oakland.