Rolando McClain’s not going to pretend he can replace Ray Lewis, even though he’ll be standing in the same spot. But he hopes that changing locations can help him change the course of a career gone wrong.
McClain talked to Bob Labbe of the Madison Weekly News, a paper in the Alabama town he recently moved to with his wife and two children, and said he was excited about his pending deal with the Ravens.
“It’s a move that can’t go wrong and I’m looking forward to playing in Baltimore as the Ravens run the same or very similar defense as I was a part of at the University of Alabama,” McClain said. “Ray Lewis retired after winning the Super Bowl and I look to fill his slot. No one can fill his shoes, but I can fill his slot. I just want to fill out the shoes of Rolando McClain. This is a perfect fit for me personally.”
There are a lot of familiar faces for McClain to work with, as former Crimson Tide teammates Terrence Cody and Courtney Upshaw are there, and Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome’s also an Alabama man.
But he’s hoping his two new hometowns will help him avoid the off-field problems that plagued him in the past.
In an earlier story in the same paper, McClain painted a picture of himself as a changed man now that he’s moved to the small town, 25 miles from where he grew up in Decatur, Ala.
“As a kid and young adult you make mistakes and I have made some,” he said. “I have tried to do good, but sometimes the devil wins.”
He said he moved away from the place he grew up to get away from the old influences there.
“When you come into some money, some people think you owe them and they want some of your money, but I tried to always stay true to who I am,” McClain said. “My wife has completely changed me. She’s made me mellow, softer. . . .
“I am who I am. I’ll have to change my surroundings. I love my friends and my city and I won’t turn my back on them. I just need to make better decisions in my life. I won’t be making as many visits to Decatur.”
If he brings a new focus, he could well turn around the career which has been a disappointment thus far. But that’s going to take more than a new mailing address.