Retired middle linebacker Rolando McClain had a shaky workout in front of Ravens’ officials today, leaving his future with the team in doubt.
McClain was unable to pass the team’s conditioning test and showed considerable rust during drills, according to team sources. However, his struggles didn’t come as a huge surprise to Ravens' officials since McClain hasn’t played in an NFL game since late in the 2012 season.
It’s unclear if the Ravens will revisit the situation and give McClain another workout at a later date, allowing him more of an opportunity to get in football shape, or if they are officially ready to move on from the oft-troubled linebacker.
McClain, 24, announced his retirement last May, a little over a month after he signed with the Ravens. With some of his off-the-field issues taken care of, McClain has made it known that he wants to play again and it’s the Ravens that still hold his contractual rights.
The Ravens have left the door open for his return, but have taken the stance that McClain, who has been arrested at least four times since entering the NFL in 2010, has to prove to them that he’s committed to fitting in and doing the right things both on and off the field. Tuesday's workout at the Under Armour Performance Center comes less than two weeks after Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome met with McClain in Alabama.
Despite re-signing middle linebacker Daryl Smith, their leading tackler last season, the Ravens have talked about adding more inside linebacker depth this offseason. As things stand, second-year player Arthur Brown is the favorite to start at weak-side linebacker, alongside the veteran Smith.
The other candidates are Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan, who are both known more for their work on special teams. However, it remains unclear whether the Ravens think that McClain could help the team.
“To me, it all depends on a couple things. 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,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said when asked about McClain at last month's NFL owners meetings. “I’ll just wait and see what he does. If he un-retires or whatever the situation is, then we’ll decide whether he is going to be good for our team.”
In three tumultuous seasons with the Oakland Raiders, McClain started 38 games and was credited with 175 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one interception and 17 passes defended. He struggled to live up to the expectations that came with being the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, mostly because the former Alabama standout couldn’t stay out of trouble off the field.
McClain was arrested three times in a little over a year’s span, finally leading to his April 2013 release by the Raiders. Less than two weeks after signing with the Ravens, McClain was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after police responded to a disturbance at a Decatur, Ala. Park. The trial date for those charges last May still has not been set.
After deciding to retire to get a handle on his personal issues which also include a divorce, McClain re-enrolled at the University of Alabama to finish his degree and spent this past season working out and helping out with the Crimson Tide football team. Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who is close with Newsome, has provided positive reviews on McClain’s progress.