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Ravens assistant GM thinks Rolando McClain 'deserves a 2nd chance'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Rolando McLain is still on the roster in Baltimore. (USATSI)
The Ravens signed embattled former first-round talent Rolando McClain in mid-April to add depth at linebacker. Ray Lewis retired in February and Dannell Ellerbe landed a big contract with the Dolphins at the start of free agency so there were holes on the roster.

But less than two weeks after agreeing to a one-year deal, McClain was arrested for the third time in 16 months. At the time, Ravens senior vice president for public and community relations Kevin Byrne would only say that "There is due process on this, and we are paying attention to that."

Now, with the draft behind us and even after the Ravens selected linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round, McClain's roster spot remains secure -- for the time being.

"I think this about McClain, he deserves a second chance," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said Monday according to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "If you asked him, he would probably admit to making some mistakes. We think he warrants a second chance. Obviously, he's an Alabama guy.

"We have a relationship with a lot of Alabama players," DeCosta continued. "We get a lot of good information from Alabama because of Ozzie Newsome's relationship with the school. So, we think he deserves a second chance."

The Alabama connection starts with general manager Ozzie Newsome, who played for Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide in the 1970s.

Even before McClain's latest arrest, Newsome made it clear that the linebacker would have to earn his way onto the team. "Rolando is just (being) given an opportunity to make our 53-man roster," the GM said during a pre-draft news conference last month. "That's it."

But the organization also has a mentoring program that could ultimately benefit McClain.

"We have a program in place for every single player who comes to Baltimore," DeCosta said via Wilson. "We have an individual plan for every single player that gets mapped out before they come on campus. Some guys have different issues.

"It could be family issues. It could be academic issues, financial issues. It could be off-the-field stuff. It could be substance abuse. Just about every single player we have has something he needs help with and we could counsel him on. We have a whole bunch of people to help players."

As it stands, the Ravens depth chart at inside linebacker looks like this: Jameel McClain and Arthur Brown. Behind them: Josh Byrnes and Rolando McClain.

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