Linebacker Rolando McClain didn’t make much of an impression during an eventful stint with the Ravens, but he is opening some eyes with the Cowboys.
McClain is “really impressive,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told a Dallas radio station, per the Dallas Morning News.
McClain, who was traded by the Ravens to the Cowboys, could face his former team – using that term loosely – Saturday night when Dallas hosts the Ravens. More likely, though, McClain will sit out the game and try to play in the Cowboys’ final two preseason games.
At this point, the Ravens are rooting for McClain.
According to the terms of the trade, the more McClain plays, the better it is for the Ravens.
The Ravens will receive a sixth-round pick in exchange for a seventh-round pick if McClain plays 50 percent of the Cowboys defensive snaps this season. If he plays less, but if McClain is on the 53-man roster for five games or on the 46-man roster for at least three games, Dallas and the Ravens will swap seventh-round picks -- but only if the Cowboys have the better pick. If McClain fails to make the team, the Ravens get nothing in the deal.
Jones calls McClain "a different cat," and indeed, McClain is working on about his fourth or fifth NFL life at this point.
McClain, a former first-round draft pick of the Raiders, has run afoul of the law and had already twice retired from football before age 25. He was signed by the Ravens last summer after being released by the Raiders but never participated in a practice before deciding to retire. The Ravens retained his rights, though, and he returned to the Ravens briefly this past spring -- just long enough to reportedly fail a conditioning test and announced that he was retiring again.
But the Ravens still retained his rights, and they sent McClain to Dallas in the conditional deal. McClain still has a long way to go, but so far the Cowboys like what they see.
“He hasn’t played football in a year and a half, so those legs, ankles and other areas just take some acclimation. That’s what you’re seeing,” Jones told the radio station. “We’re trying to, under the real supervision of our trainers, we’re trying to ease him into this thing. He’s actually had some days were he had leg cramps, so he’s had to work back in. But he’s really impressive. He’s a different cat out there.”