Rolando McClain last played in an NFL regular-season game in 2012. The former Raiders first-round pick retired in May 2013 only to come out of retirement 11 months later -- this time with the Ravens -- before retiring again days after that.
So it was somewhat surprising when Dallas traded a sixth-round pick to Baltimore for McClain and a seventh-rounder. But this time, according to McClain's agent, the linebacker is committed to playing football.
“He sounds as excited about football as I've ever heard him,” Pat Dye, McClain's agent, said, via ESPN.com.
“I see, and Rolando sees, the Dallas situation as a great opportunity given Sean's injury, and you're talking about a great franchise and a great organization,” Dye said. “I've described to any of the clients we've had through the years there -- Emmitt Smith, Dexter Coakley, DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Keith Brooking, DeMarco Murray -- that playing for the Cowboys in football is kind of like playing for the Yankees in baseball. Just an iconic franchise.
"With kind of what he's done going back to his time with the Raiders, I think that all of this has led him to a point where he feels like the game is too important to him to give up. He's just 24 years old. He's very talented. He's very bright. Tough. Competitive. There's a reason he was a top-10 pick at a position that is almost impossible to be a top-10 pick. Hopefully this situation will go smoothly.”
There's plenty to like. McClain's young, physically talented (when he's in shape, which has been an issue in recent years), and bright. Alabama coach Nick Saban, a man not known to throw around compliments, once called McClain one of the smartest player's he ever had.
But again, there's no guarantee McClain is any more reliable than he's been in previous offseasons, when he's appeared interested in playing football only to change his mind a shot time later. But for the Cowboys, who have a definite need at linebacker, a low-cost flyer on a high-upside player is worth the risk.