The second chance the Ravens are offering the former Butkus Award winner and consensus All-American from Alabama simply represents an opportunity for him to revitalize his NFL career.
McClain agreed in principle to a one-year contract that carries a base salary of $700,000 with another $400,000 in attainable playing time incentives for a maximum value of $1.1 million, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
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McClain opted for the Ravens over more lucrative financial opportunities with other NFL teams, per sources.
McClain is traveling to Baltimore for a physical Friday and will meet with general manager Ozzie Newsome, a fellow Alabama football alum, as well as coach John Harbaugh to discuss their expectations for him, on and off the field, prior to him formally signing a contract.
McClain dealt with serious legal problems while with the Raiders that have been resolved on appeal after initially being convicted of a series of misdemeanors before reaching a financial settlement with the alleged victim. He was released by the Raiders last Friday and cleared waivers Monday prior to agreeing to terms with the Ravens this week.
McClain is extremely excited about the chance to join the Super Bowl champions and regards Newsome and Harbaugh's presence as critical to his decision-making process, sources say, and determined to prove he's worthy of
"As a kid and young adult you make mistakes and I have made some," McClain told the Madison Weekly News in Alabama where he lives during the offseason. "I have tried to do good, but sometimes the devil wins.”
And the Ravens' approach toward McClain is they are giving him a chance, which hinges on how the former eighth overall pick of the draft conducts himself going forward.
The timing for adding the 6-foot-4, 259-pounder will get him on the roster prior to the start of the Ravens' offseason conditioning program Monday and provides him time to get acclimated to a new locker room and absorb defensive coordinator Dean Pees' playbook.
The Ravens lost middle linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement, Dannell Ellerbe to a $35 million contract with the Miami Dolphins and are hoping that linebacker Jameel McClain recovers from a spinal cord contusion suffered against the Washington Redskins last December that ended his season.
McClain is familiar with the Ravens' 3-4 defensive scheme because he played in a similar system at Alabama for coach Nick Saban, who worked on Bill Belichick's staff along with Newsome for the original Cleveland Browns prior to their move to Maryland.
McClain told the Madison Weekly that he's determined to not repeat his mistakes. He married former Alabama triple jumper and long jumper Capri Knox earlier this year and credits her as a positive influence on him.
“It’s not about me anymore as now I have two sons and a wonderful wife and we want to take it slow and make our way into the community in a positive way," McClain said. "I’m a homebody. I like to fish and we go out on the boat and enjoy relaxing as a family as often as we can.
“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. My wife has completely changed me. She’s made me mellow, softer.”