At the young age of 23, Rolando McClain, a former first-round pick, walked away from the NFL. Well, "walked away" would imply he had some sort of choice about playing football; he really didn't after a slew of off-field issues got him released from the Raiders and then dumped by the Ravens before he could even get a shot at a second chance.
"I know a lot of people get disappointed in Rolando McClain and a lot of the things he's struggled with," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Tuesday. "But he's with us now."
Wherever McClain goes, he needs to find a good support system. After being selected by the Raiders with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft as a theoretically "safe" pick, McClain was a complete bust on the field and a complete nightmare off it.
It's all very surprising for a player that Saban called a "phenomenal leader."
"That guy was a phenomenal leader," Saban said. "He affected everybody in the organization at a time when we needed leadership because we had a lot of bad things happen when I first got there."
Shoe's on the other foot now; McClain's the one absolutely reeling. Retired from the NFL on terms other than your own at the age of 23? It's not a good look.
But hearing that McClain's back with the Tide, going to school and not isolating himself from friends and family is certainly good news. Hopefully it can result in some sort of comeback for the young man.