But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested that McClain’s financial situation might have played a part in his comeback, and he thinks he’s getting a motivated player.
“I have a known a lot of people, a lot of successful people, that quit and then got it together and turned it around and came back and really made something of what they quit actually, in many cases,” Jones said, via Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “I’ve seen it happen several times in sports. Certainly I have seen it happen in short periods of time with frustration.
“I have a little empathy. He’s got a very plausible experience as to what has impacted him off the field. We all say that you’ve got to be a pro and work through that stuff. I, too, have first-hand seen people that have worked through things better than others. If you get behind them, they can go on to very productive. So based upon his background, his story, based upon the nature of why he’s here — his health, which is good — all those things, in my mind, he’s a great opportunity for our team.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he talked about McClain’s college coach Nick Saban before making the move as well, and came away convinced it was worth the (low) risk.
“Certainly he’s had some issues since he’s been in the NFL,” Garrett said. “Played a couple of years, retired, unretired. And the research that we did, the due diligence we did, both with coach Saban and other people who have been around him, we felt like with his ability with the kind of person he’s demonstrated himself to be in the past, maybe we can help him through some of these issues he has and get this guy back playing at the level we all thought he was capable of playing.”
McClain will have to wait to make that impression, as he’s heading back to Alabama for a court date Friday. But they expect him to return to camp over the weekend, at which point the former No. 8 overall pick can start making the most of his latest chance.