Following his abrupt move to retire Wednesday at the age of 23, Ravens middle linebacker Rolando McClain issued a statement Thursday explaining his decision.

McClain emphasized that it was his call to do so. Facing pending legal cases, including a July 9 court date for charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from his arrest in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., on April 21, McClain stated his focus is on resolving those issues.

Signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract with no guaranteed money, McClain was placed on the Ravens' reserve-retired list. They retain his rights, can activate him at any time and have $1.986 million in salary-cap space under the NFL limit of $123 million with him now off the books.

"Clearly, my decision to retire has raised some questions," McClain said in a statement from his agent, Pat Dye Jr., issued to The Baltimore Sun and other 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."

awilson@baltsun.com

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