The last time that Ravens nose guard Terrence Cody played football with middle linebacker Rolando McClain they were both consensus All-Americans for an Alabama team that won the national championship.
Four years later, Cody is looking forward to reuniting with his friend and former teammate.
McClain was reinstated from the reserve-retired list Thursday and the current plan is for him to join the Ravens on Monday when they launch their offseason training program.
"I'm real excited to have Rolando back, one of my old teammates and a guy I battled with and went to war with every day," Cody said in a telephone interview. "To have him back with me is awesome. He's ready to do what he's got to do to get back on the field. He's humbled himself a lot. The previous things he's been through, I think he's learned from them and is ready to move on."
McClain was signed to a one-year, $700,000 contract last year, but abruptly retired following a disorderly conduct and resisting arrest incident that remains a pending case. He has spent the past year enrolled in school at Alabama and dealing with personal issues.
Cody said he's seen a lot of growth from McClain, who struggled with his conditioning during a workout for the Ravens earlier this week.
"When I saw him, he looked good, the best I've ever seen him look," Cody said. "He's always been a big, thick guy, but he's not a fat guy. He didn't look like he was out of shape. He can run fast, trust me. He probably just needs some time to get back in a football environment and get used to doing things every day with more structure.
"At Alabama after we would get done running, he would go up to the rec center and play pickup games with the basketball players. I've never seen that. I would be dead tired doing that."
At Alabama, McClain won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.
During his final season before declaring for the NFL draft, McClain recorded 105 tackles, 14.5 for losses, four sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
"The Ravens will be getting pretty much a genius, to me, the guy is smart," Cody said. "He's school smart and football smart. He's one of the smartest guys I've been around. He knows the plays, he usually had straight 'A's in school. He was on the dean's list. People don't know that stuff about him. They just look at the bad stuff."
When McClain played for the Raiders during his last NFL season in 2012, he was suspended for two games for conduct detrimental to the team following an argument with coach Dennis Allen. He was docked two game checks, costing him more than $114,000.
Cody emphasized that McClain will interact differently with coaches and teammates in Baltimore.
"The Ravens will get a really good guy and a really good player, an overall good teammate," Cody said. "When he's surrounded by good guys, he's a different guy. When he's surrounded by guys who want to play football and teammates ready to give up everything they have for him, he'll be different about everything.
"When he was in Oakland, he felt like the guys weren't playing for the team. He felt like they were playing for themselves."
Cody said that he plans to help McClain get acclimated to the Ravens' locker room to ease his transition back to the NFL.
"Yeah, I'll let him know how the team works since he's been away from it," Cody said. "I want to show him those things so he can get comfortable and not feel like, 'I'm the new guy.' He'll show the guys that he wants to come in and show them that he's ready and wants to come back.
"The Ravens will give him a fair chance, for sure. It's just up to him to use that opportunity. He wants to make those most of this chance, I know that for a fact. This is very important to Rolando."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun