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Rolando McClain

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Rolando McClain

Rolando McClain
Acknowledging some Raiders fans at a game in Denver in October, 2010.
No. 55     Dallas Cowboys
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-07-14) July 14, 1989
Place of birth: Athens, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 259 lb (117 kg)
Career information
High school: Decatur (AL)
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
Debuted in 2010 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 13, 2014
Tackles 318
Quarterback sacks 7.5
Interceptions 3
Forced Fumbles 2
Stats at

Rolando Marquise McClain (born July 14, 1989) is an American football linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Alabama, where he was recognized as a unanimous All-American and the best college linebacker in the nation, and helped Alabama win the 2010 BCS National Championship. Drafted eighth overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2010, McClain played three seasons in the NFL, leading the Raiders in tackles in 2011. After various off-the-field incidents, however, he was cut by the Raiders in April 2013. Signed to one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, he retired from football in May 2013 at the age of 23.[5][6] However, in July 2014, the Dallas Cowboys traded a 6th round draft pick in exchange for the technically retired McClain and a 7th round pick.

High school career

McClain attended Decatur High School in Decatur, Alabama, where he played linebacker and tight end for the Decatur Red Raiders high school football team. As a senior he was an Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team selection, Parade All-American, and was selected to play in the first Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In high school, he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease,[7] though recent tests seemed to indicate that was a misdiagnosis.[8]

College career

McClain accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Alabama, where he played for coach Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2007 to 2009.

As a true freshman in 2007, McClain started 8 of 13 games, finishing the season with 75 tackles, two interceptions and a sack. He was recognized as a freshmen All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection.

As a sophomore in 2008, McClain compiled 95 tackles, three sacks, and an interception, earning Associated Press (AP) third-team All-American honors, and was a first-team All-SEC selection.

During his junior year in 2009, McClain had 105 tackles including 14.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, fourteen quarterback hurries, two interceptions, three passes broken up, and a forced fumble. He was named Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Kentucky Wildcats in early October.[9] Following the SEC Championship Game, Rolando was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and a first-team All-SEC selection.

On December 7, 2009, McClain was announced as the winner of the 2009 Lambert Award for the best collegiate linebacker.[10] He is the first Alabama linebacker to win the Lambert Award since its inception in 1991. A day later, he was also awarded the 2009 Dick Butkus Award, being only the second Crimson Tide player to do so (along with Derrick Thomas in 1988).[11] He was recognized a unanimous first-team All-American, after being named to the first teams of the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, and Walter Camp Football Foundation.[12][13]

On January 11, 2010, several days after winning the [14]

Professional career

2010 NFL Draft

McClain was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was the highest drafted Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker since Keith McCants went 4th overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1990 NFL Draft.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3⅜ in 249 lb 33 in 9⅜ in 4.68 s 1.62 s 2.72 s 4.38 s 7.16 s 35 in 9 ft 1 in 24 reps 16
Measurables and BP from NFL Combine, all others from Alabama Pro Day[15]

Oakland Raiders

McClain signed his contract with the Raiders on July 28, 2010, in time to make the first day of training camp. The contract was estimated to be for $40 million over 5 years.[16]

In week 2 of the 2010 season against the St. Louis Rams, McClain body slammed Danny Amendola, which drew an "unnecessary roughness" call and eventually a $5,000 fine by the NFL.[17] He recorded his first career sack in week 7 against Kyle Orton of the Denver Broncos and his first career interception in week 12 against Chad Henne of the Miami Dolphins.

McClain finished his first season with 85 tackles, 0.5 sacks, an interception, and 6 passes defended.

During the 2012 NFL season, in which the Raiders' defense struggled and was statistically the worst defense in the league, McClain saw his playing time decrease following a 37-6 rout by the division rival Denver Broncos. During a week 4 game against Denver, McClain played in 73 snaps, but following the bye, the Raiders made the decision to replace him with 4th round rookie Miles Burris in their nickel package, resulting in McClain playing only 17 snaps compared to Burris' 55 in the week 6 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Head coach Dennis Allen was quoted as saying that he has been impressed with Burris' ability to make corrections on the fly, saying the linebacker was not a "repeat offender" when it came to mistakes and a smart football player overall, indicating the coaching staff's belief that McClain was guilty of poor decision-making and too many errors.[18]

According to sources within the Raiders, it was reported by's Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport that McClain had been kicked out of an official team practice session on November 29 due to an "incident".[19] McClain then took to social media outlet Facebook and released a series of comments stating that he was ". . .no longer an Oakland Raider!!" and that he was ". . .mentally done." with the team, wishing ". . .to be anywhere besides here".[20]

McClain had been drafted with the hopes that he could help improve the Raiders' run defense, an area where the team had been consistently among the worst in the league. Following a string of poor first round picks by late owner/GM Al Davis, the selection of Rolando McClain was applauded by many analysts. Throughout his tenure however, McClain has not only failed to help bolster the defense against the run, but he has also shown to be a liability in pass coverage.

McClain was released on April 5, 2013 by the Oakland Raiders.[21]

Baltimore Ravens

McClain signed with the Baltimore Ravens on April 10, 2013.[22] On May 15, 2013, McClain announced his retirement.[5] McClain never played for the Ravens due to his retirement.

Dallas Cowboys

On July 1, 2014, the Dallas Cowboys acquired McClain and a seventh round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft from the Ravens in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.[23][24]


McClain was born in Decatur, Alabama to parents Roland McClain and Tonya Malone. He grew up in the projects of Decatur, Alabama. At 15, Rolando received a restraining order against his mother after she beat him and threatened him with a knife. At 16, she was arrested after she threatened his entire high school which resulted in a school lock down. During the trial she was diagnosed as bipolar. His estranged father was granted custody but McClain left to return to Decatur to stay eligible for football. He lived with several families including the Tim Thomas family his junior year. Tim played on the same Ole Miss basketball team as Sean Tuohy, whose Memphis family took in Michael Oher, which is the subject of the book and movie The Blind Side. McClain could be considered to have been "on his own" since he was 15.[25]

McClain's cousin Le'Ron McClain also played football at the University of Alabama, and as of 2014 he plays for the San Diego Chargers.[26]

In January 2013, McClain married Capri Knox and, with their 2 sons, moved to Madison, Alabama. McClain and Knox first met in 2007 at the University of Alabama where she was a member of the Alabama Track team.[27] In September 2013, he filed for divorce.[28] But in a interview in October 2014, he states he wishes to be a better husband indicating he is still married.[29]

After his retirement, McClain moved to Tuscaloosa, where he re-enrolled at the University of Alabama in order to finish his bachelor's degree in family financial planning.[6] He was still a few hours short of the degree when he returned football with the Cowboys.


On December 1, 2011, McClain was arrested by Decatur police and charged with third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm inside the city limits, all of which are misdemeanors, for a shooting incident that occurred the night before.[30][31] On May 17, 2012, McClain was found guilty on all counts, ordered to pay a $500 fine for each charge, totaling $2,000, and sentenced to spend 45 days in jail for each charge, 180 in total. He was freed on bond, and will begin serving his sentence on June 1.[32]

On November 18, 2012, while the case was on appeal, the charges were dismissed by the Judge after the victim decided not to press charges. According to lawyers involved, a financial settlement was reached between McClain and the victim.[33]

On January 8, 2013, McClain was arrested by Decatur Police in Morgan County after an officer pulled him over for a window tint violation. McClain provided the officer with a false name and he was arrested and booked into the Decatur City Jail. McClain bonded out of jail later that day.[34]

On April 21, 2013, McClain was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.[35]


  1. ^ "Alabama Places Four on AFCA All American Team",, December 3, 2009 
  2. ^ "AP honors Saban, Ingram, McClain",, December 7, 2009 
  3. ^ "Gators couldn't solve McElroy", ESPN, December 5, 2009 
  4. ^ "Saban's trademark plays key Bama's win", ESPN, January 7, 2010 
  5. ^ a b McIntyre, Brian (2013-05-15). "Rolando McClain retires from the NFL ... at age 23".  
  6. ^ a b Wickersham, Seth (October 30, 2013). "Former Oakland Raiders, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain's self-imposed exile". ESPN The Magazine. 
  7. ^ CBS Sports ROLANDO MCCLAIN, ILB, retrieved 2010-04-23 
  8. ^ Vittorio Tafur (05-02-2010). "First-round pick McClain blends in with Raiders".  
  9. ^ "McClain named National Defensive Player of the Week",, October 6, 2009 
  10. ^ "McClain wins Jack Lambert Award",, December 7, 2009 
  11. ^ "McClain wins Butkus Award", AP (ESPN), December 8, 2009 
  12. ^ 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 12 (2011). Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  13. ^ "Crimson Tide place six on AP All-American Team",, December 15, 2009 
  14. ^ Estes, Gentry (2010-01-11). "Tide LB Rolando McClain to enter the 2010 NFL draft". Mobile Press-Register ( Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  15. ^ "Rolando McClain Draft Profile". Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Source: Oakland Raiders' Rolando McClain gets $23M guaranteed".  
  17. ^ Williamson, Bill (September 24, 2010). "Rolando McClain fined for body slam". 
  18. ^ Zimmerman, Kevin (October 17, 2012). "Raiders' Miles Burris is passing Rolando McClain". 
  19. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (November 28, 2012). "Rolando McClain booted from Oakland Raiders practice". 
  20. ^ Sessler, Marc (November 28, 2012). "Rolando McClain wants off Oakland Raiders' roster". 
  21. ^ Dubow, Josh (April 5, 2013). "Raiders waive LB Rolando McClain".  
  22. ^ Report: Rolando McClain Says He's Signing 1-Year Deal With Ravens
  23. ^ "Rolando McClain traded to Cowboys". July 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  24. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (July 1, 2014). "Rolando McClain acquired by Dallas Cowboys". Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  25. ^ "Community helps Alabama's Rolando McClain grab NFL jackpot". Birmingham News. April 25, 2010. 
  26. ^ Platania, Joe (April 23, 2010),  
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Clines, Keith (December 1, 2011). "Former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain arrested in Decatur". The Huntsville Times. 
  31. ^ McDonald, Jerry (December 1, 2011). "Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain facing four charges in hometown of Decatur, Ala.". Bay Area News Group. 
  32. ^ Voight, Josh (May 17, 2012). "Rolando McClain found guilty". WAAY. 
  33. ^ "McClain charges dropped: Criminal case dismissed on alleged victim’s request". Decatur Daily. November 19, 2012. 
  34. ^ Voight, Josh (January 8, 2013). "Rolando McClain Arrested Again In Morgan County". WHNT. 
  35. ^ Jones, Monique; Zrebiec, Jeff (April 22, 2013). "Ravens' Rolando McClain arrested in Alabama". Baltimore Sun. 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from • ESPN • Pro-Football-Reference
  • Dallas Cowboys bio
  • Oakland Raiders bio
  • Alabama Crimson Tide bio
  • NFL Combine profile
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