Rolando McClain noncommittal on potential comeback, doesn't rule it out

The Baltimore Sun

Retired from the NFL since shortly after signing a one-year contract with the Ravens last year, linebacker Rolando McClain was noncommittal on whether he's planning a comeback.

McClain didn't rule out the possibility to Alabama reporters while attending the Crimson Tide's Pro Day workout Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as he continues to contemplate his future.

"Football is football," said McClain, who continues to work out at Alabama, is enrolled in school and is a few classes shy of completing his undergraduate degree. "Right now, I don't have any plans."

The Ravens retain the 24-year-old's contractual rights.

One source said that McClain returning to the NFL is "premature" at this time with no movement currently toward that happening.

Another source said the Ravens are open to the idea of McClain returning, given their low financial commitment ($700,000 base salary with no guaranteed money) and his potential upside as a 6-foot-4, 250-pound former starter with the Oakland Raiders.

McClain would have to prove himself, though.

McClain emphasized to reporters Wednesday that his main priorities right now are as a father for his two sons, dealing with his personal life (he is going through a divorce) and completing his education requirements.

However, McClain made it clear that he's still thinking about playing.

"I'm not going to wait for the door to be closed," McClain said to the Alabama reporters. "Right now, I think it's still open. I've still got some things to get in order before I make that decision."

A 2010 Raiders first-round draft pick, selected eighth overall after an All-American career at Alabama during which he won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker, McClain has had multiple off-the-field issues. He was arrested for disorderly conduct last April in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., 10 days after signing with the Ravens and then quickly retired.

McClain said his time hasn't been spent focusing on football.

"I really focused on the things I need to get right, and football wasn't one of those things," McClain said Wednesday to the Alabama reporters. "Just getting the personal life and everything else in order before you can even try to focus on football. Yes, I feel better as a person overall. My two little boys are doing a great job. They're wild, but they keep me busy."

Last year, McClain told ESPN The Magazine that he had dark thoughts and was concerned that he was headed toward dangerous behavior.

"I felt like Aaron Hernandez," said McClain, who acknowledged in the article that he has anger management issues. "Like I just wanted to kill somebody."

Now, McClain seems to be in a more positive frame of mind. He said he hasn't approached Alabama coach Nick Saban to discuss a potential return to football.

"He knows when he's ready to talk about it again, which I think it's up to him to decide that, he's welcome to come and talk to me," Saban said to reporters Wednesday. "And I'd be happy to talk to him anytime about it."

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