Rolando McClain

Rolando McClain

refer to caption

McClain with the Oakland Raiders in 2010
No. 55Dallas Cowboys
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-07-14) July 14, 1989
Place of birth: Athens, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school: Decatur (AL)
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Suspended
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2015
Total tackles: 407
Sacks: 9.5
Interceptions: 4
Forced fumbles: 2
Touchdowns: 1
Player stats at

Rolando Marquise McClain (born July 14, 1989) is an American football linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama, where he was recognized as a unanimous All-American and won the 2010 BCS National Championship. He was selected eighth overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2010 NFL Draft.

Early years

McClain attended Decatur High School in Decatur, Alabama, where he played linebacker and tight end for the Decatur Red Raiders high school football team. As a junior he made 104 tackles, 11 for loss, four sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to go along with his 24 receptions for 436 yards on the offensive side of the ball. McClain's senior season ended with 106 tackles and 13 for loss, which led to Parade All-American honors, and selection to play in the first Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

During his high school years, he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease,[1] although later tests seemed to indicate that was a misdiagnosis.[2]

Considered a four-star recruit by,[3] McClain was listed as the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation in 2007.[4] He chose Alabama over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Louisville.

College career

McClain accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Alabama, where he played for coach Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2007 to 2009.

As a true freshman in 2007, McClain started 8 of 13 games, finishing the season with 75 tackles, two interceptions and a sack. He was recognized as a freshmen All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection.

As a sophomore in 2008, McClain compiled 95 tackles, three sacks, and an interception, earning Associated Press (AP) third-team All-American honors, and was a first-team All-SEC selection.

During his junior year in 2009, McClain had 105 tackles including 14.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, fourteen quarterback hurries, two interceptions, three passes broken up, and a forced fumble. He was named Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Kentucky in early October.[5] Following the SEC Championship Game, Rolando was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and a first-team All-SEC selection.

On December 7, 2009, McClain was announced as the winner of the 2009 Lambert Award for the best collegiate linebacker.[6] He is the first Alabama linebacker to win the Lambert Award since its inception in 1991. A day later, he was also awarded the 2009 Dick Butkus Award, being only the second Crimson Tide player to do so (along with Derrick Thomas in 1988).[7] He was recognized a unanimous first-team All-American, after being named to the first teams of the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, and Walter Camp Football Foundation.[8][9]

On January 11, 2010, a few days after winning the BCS National Championship, McClain decided to forgo his senior year at Alabama and enter the NFL draft.[10]

Professional career

2010 NFL Draft

McClain was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was the highest drafted Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker since Keith McCants went 4th overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
6 ft 3⅜ in 249 lb33 in9⅜ in 4.68 s 1.62 s 2.72 s 4.38 s 7.16 s 35 in 9 ft 1 in 24 reps16
Measurables and BP from NFL Combine, all others from Alabama Pro Day[11]

Oakland Raiders

McClain signed his contract with the Raiders on July 28, 2010, in time to make the first day of training camp. The contract was estimated to be for $40 million over 5 years.[12]

McClain finished his first season with 85 tackles (second on the team), 0.5 sacks, one interception and 6 passes defended. In week 2 of the 2010 season against the St. Louis Rams, McClain body slammed Danny Amendola, which drew an "unnecessary roughness" call and eventually a $5,000 fine by the NFL.[13] He recorded his first career sack in week 7 against Kyle Orton of the Denver Broncos and his first career interception in week 12 against Chad Henne of the Miami Dolphins.

In 2011, he appeared in 15 games (14 starts), posting 99 tackles (second on the team), 77 solo tackles, 5 sacks, 14 passes defensed and one safety.

During the 2012 NFL season, in which the Raiders' defense struggled and was statistically the worst defense in the league, McClain saw his playing time decrease following a 37-6 rout by the division rival Denver Broncos. During a week 4 game against Denver, McClain played in 73 snaps, but following the bye, the Raiders made the decision to replace him with 4th round rookie Miles Burris in their nickel package, resulting in McClain playing only 17 snaps compared to Burris' 55 in the week 6 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Head coach Dennis Allen said he has been impressed with Burris' ability to make corrections on the fly, and that the linebacker was not a "repeat offender" when it came to mistakes and a smart football player overall, indicating the coaching staff's belief that McClain was guilty of poor decision-making and too many errors.[14] According to sources within the Raiders, it was reported by's Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport that McClain had been kicked out of an official team practice session on November 29 due to an "incident".[15] McClain then took to social media outlet Facebook and released a series of comments stating that he was ". . .no longer an Oakland Raider!!" and that he was ". . .mentally done." with the team, wishing ". . .to be anywhere besides here".[16] He appeared in 11 games (9 starts), registering 90 tackles, one sack, 3 passes defensed and one forced fumble.

After various off-the-field incidents, however, he was waived by the Raiders on April 5, 2013. McClain had been drafted with the hopes that he could help improve the Raiders' run defense, an area where the team had been consistently among the worst in the league. Following a string of poor first round picks by late owner/GM Al Davis, the selection of Rolando McClain was applauded by many analysts. However, throughout his tenure with the Raiders, the team remained poor at defending the run.[17]

Baltimore Ravens

McClain signed with the Baltimore Ravens on April 10, 2013.[18] On May 15, McClain announced his retirement at the age of 23, having never played a down for the Ravens.[19][20]

Dallas Cowboys

On July 1, 2014, after Sean Lee was lost for the season, the Dallas Cowboys acquired McClain along with a seventh-round pick (#243-Laurence Gibson) from the Baltimore Ravens, in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft (#204-Darren Waller).[21][22] At the time the move was seen as a gamble because of his previous career history and character concerns. The trade paid off, with McClain becoming an unquestioned team leader and playing a critical role in the resurgence of the Cowboys’ previously-suspect defense. Although he was slowed down with groin and knee injuries after week 9 of the season, the unit raised its level when he was healthy and was setting the tone with his physical style and play-making ability.[23] He finished with 12 starts in 13 games, one sack, five quarterback pressures, nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, five passes defensed, one forced fumble and 81 tackles. He also took part in his first NFL playoff games, but suffered concussions in both contests.

On April 1, 2015, McClain agreed to a new one-year, $3 million contract with the Cowboys. On July 2, the NFL announced that he would be suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.[24] He also had a surprise knee surgery during the offseason, which forced him to miss the entire conditioning program and most of training camp. He played in 11 of 12 games as the starting middle linebacker, with Lee moving to weakside linebacker. Although he got off to a slow start in his return from the suspension, he finished with 97 tackles (third on the team), 2 sacks, 3 passes defensed and returned an interception for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.

On March 9, 2016, McClain agreed to another one-year deal with the Cowboys for $5 million.[25] On June 30, he was suspended for the second season in a row for violating the NFL substance abuse policy, this time for the first 10 games of the 2016 NFL season.[26] On August 2, it was reported that McClain had become addicted to codeine after consuming the mixture known as purple drank, and that he is "a long way from ever resuming his NFL career".[27][28] Jason Cole of Bleacher Report said McClain's return to the Cowboys is "almost impossible".[28]

Career statistics

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

NCAA career statistics
Season Tackling Interceptions
Year Team Class GP Comb Solo Asst Loss Sack Int Yds Avg TD PD
2007 BAMA FR 13 74 38 36 5.0 1.0 2 40 20.0 0 --
2008 BAMA SO 14 95 48 47 12.0 3.0 1 12 12.0 0 --
2009 BAMA JR 14 105 53 52 14.5 4.0 2 21 10.5 0 --
Career 41 274 139 135 31.5 8.0 5 73 14.6 0 --

National Football League (NFL)

NFL career statistics
Season Tackling Fumbles Interceptions
Year Team GP GS Comb Solo Asst Sack FF FR Yds TD Int Yds Avg Long TD PD
2010 OAK 15 15 85 59 26 0.5 0 0 0 0 1 10 10.0 10 0 6
2011 OAK 15 14 100 79 21 5.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 11
2012 OAK 11 9 60 37 23 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2014 DAL 13 12 87 67 20 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.0 0 0 3
2015 DAL 11 11 80 50 30 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 12 12.0 12 1 3
Career 65 61 412 292 120 9.5 2 0 0 0 4 22 5.5 12 1 23

Personal life

McClain was born in Decatur, Alabama to parents Roland Ervin Jr and Tonya Malone. He grew up in the projects of Decatur, Alabama. At 15, Rolando received a restraining order against his mother after she beat him and threatened him with a knife. At 16, she was arrested after she threatened his entire high school which resulted in a school lock down. During the trial she was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. His estranged father was granted custody but McClain left to return to Decatur to stay eligible for football. He lived with several families his junior year. McClain could be considered to have been "on his own" since he was 15.[29]

McClain's cousin Le'Ron McClain also played football at the University of Alabama, and played for three different NFL teams during 2007–2013.

On December 1, 2011, McClain was arrested by Decatur police and charged with third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm inside the city limits, all of which are misdemeanors, for a shooting incident that occurred the night before.[30][31] On May 17, 2012, McClain was found guilty on all counts, ordered to pay a $500 fine for each charge, totaling $2,000, and sentenced to spend 45 days in jail for each charge, 180 in total. He was freed on bond, and will begin serving his sentence on June 1.[32] On November 18, 2012, while the case was on appeal, the charges were dismissed by the Judge after the victim decided not to press charges. According to lawyers involved, a financial settlement was reached between McClain and the victim.[33]

On January 8, 2013, he was arrested by Decatur Police in Morgan County after an officer pulled him over for a window tint violation. McClain provided the officer with a false name and he was arrested and booked into the Decatur City Jail. McClain bonded out of jail later that day.[34]

In January 2013, McClain married Capri Knox, with whom he had two sons, and they moved to Madison, Alabama. McClain and Knox had first met in 2007 at the University of Alabama where she was a member of the Alabama Track team.[35] In September 2013, he filed for divorce.[36] However, in an interview in October 2014, he said he wishes to be a better husband – thus indicating that he is still married.[37]

After his retirement, McClain moved to Tuscaloosa, where he re-enrolled at the University of Alabama in order to finish his bachelor's degree in family financial planning.[20] He was still a few credits short of the degree when he returned to football with the Cowboys.

On April 21, 2013, McClain was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.[38]

On December 22, 2014, he lost his Tuscaloosa house due to a fire that was eventually ruled as an arson.[39] At the time, the house was vacant and listed for sale.


  1. CBS Sports ROLANDO MCCLAIN, ILB, retrieved 2010-04-23
  2. Vittorio Tafur (May 2, 2010). "First-round pick McClain blends in with Raiders". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  3. Rolando McClain Recruiting Profile
  4. inside linebackers 2007
  5. "McClain named National Defensive Player of the Week",, October 6, 2009
  6. "McClain wins Jack Lambert Award",, December 7, 2009
  7. "McClain wins Butkus Award", AP, ESPN, December 8, 2009
  8. 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 12 (2011). Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  9. "Crimson Tide place six on AP All-American Team",, December 15, 2009
  10. Estes, Gentry (2010-01-11). "Tide LB Rolando McClain to enter the 2010 NFL draft". Mobile Press-Register. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  11. "Rolando McClain Draft Profile". Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  12. "Source: Oakland Raiders' Rolando McClain gets $23M guaranteed". July 29, 2010.
  13. Williamson, Bill (September 24, 2010). "Rolando McClain fined for body slam".
  14. Zimmerman, Kevin (October 17, 2012). "Raiders' Miles Burris is passing Rolando McClain".
  15. Rosenthal, Gregg (November 28, 2012). "Rolando McClain booted from Oakland Raiders practice".
  16. Sessler, Marc (November 28, 2012). "Rolando McClain wants off Oakland Raiders' roster".
  17. Dubow, Josh (April 5, 2013). "Raiders waive LB Rolando McClain". Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  18. Report: Rolando McClain Says He's Signing 1-Year Deal With Ravens
  19. McIntyre, Brian (2013-05-15). "Rolando McClain retires from the NFL ... at age 23". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  20. 1 2 Wickersham, Seth (October 30, 2013). "Former Oakland Raiders, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain's self-imposed exile". ESPN The Magazine.
  21. "Rolando McClain traded to Cowboys". July 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  22. Rosenthal, Gregg (July 1, 2014). "Rolando McClain acquired by Dallas Cowboys". Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  24. Orr, Conor (July 2, 2015). "Cowboys' Rolando McClain suspended four games". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  25. "Cowboys re-sign Rolando McClain to one-year deal". Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  26. "Rolando McClain reportedly suspended 10 games for violating NFL substance-abuse policy".
  27. George, Brandon; Moore, David. "Sources: 'Purple drank' addiction, NFL drug policy cloud LB Rolando McClain's future with Cowboys". Dallas Morning News SportsDay. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  28. 1 2 Griffin, Tim (August 3, 2016). "Report: Rolando McClain addicted to purple drank, now 40 pounds heavier". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  29. "Community helps Alabama's Rolando McClain grab NFL jackpot". Birmingham News. April 25, 2010.
  30. Clines, Keith (December 1, 2011). "Former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain arrested in Decatur". The Huntsville Times.
  31. McDonald, Jerry (December 1, 2011). "Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain facing four charges in hometown of Decatur, Ala.". Bay Area News Group.
  32. Voight, Josh (May 17, 2012). "Rolando McClain found guilty". WAAY.
  33. "McClain charges dropped: Criminal case dismissed on alleged victim's request". Decatur Daily. November 19, 2012.
  34. Voight, Josh (January 8, 2013). "Rolando McClain Arrested Again In Morgan County". WHNT.
  35. Rolando McClain, Madison's newest resident, opens up about his life and his focus to make things right/
  36. Ex-Alabama football star Rolando McClain files for divorce from wife of 5 months
  37. He didn't deserve to play; now he's the best athlete on Cowboys' defense
  38. Jones, Monique; Zrebiec, Jeff (April 22, 2013). "Ravens' Rolando McClain arrested in Alabama". Baltimore Sun.

External links

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