There’s something not quite right about the decision of a 23-year-old top-10 draft pick with three years of experience retiring from the NFL.
Then again, there’s usually something not quite right when it comes to linebacker Rolando McClain.
My first thought upon seeing the news that he’ll be walking away from the game is that he’s doing so temporarily, an that if he stays out of trouble for a specific period of time (perhaps a year, perhaps less than that), McClain will unretire and return to the Ravens.
It’s a brilliant approach, since it gives the Ravens an escape hatch from McClain’s most recent legal troubles and it likewise gives McClain a path to return to the team. Indeed, Baltimore will retain McClain’s rights, since he’ll be placed on the team’s reserve/retired list. So if/when he returns, the Ravens would move him to the active roster, and they’d have him under contract for one year at $700,000.
One source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the decision to retire was made solely by McClain, with no influence from the team. McClain, we’re told, wants to focus solely on getting himself together before continuing his football career. The Ravens have offered to be a resource for McClain during this process, a consideration that likely flows in part from McClain’s connection to Alabama, where G.M. Ozzie Newsome played college football.
Thus, the only way McClain’s NFL story won’t continue will be if his arrest record continues to grow. But if he can keep himself out of trouble, McClain could indeed be back. And he’d likely be in Baltimore.
“We’ll see what happens,” the source said.
What could happen is an unlikely story of redemption for a player who, with some maturity, still has plenty of football left in him.