It seems like Rolando McClain has come in and out of retirement more times than Brett Favre did. This time, it may be a longer stint, especially since he was named a Dallas Cowboys starting linebacker on Monday. He seems giddy and passionate about football again.
“I still love the game like I’m an 8-, 9-year old kid,” McClain said, via ESPN.com. “It’s just about getting back into it, building chemistry with some of these guys, some trust, and just playing and having fun really.”
McClain took 20 months away from football. He is a former first-round selection with a great deal of talent, but has often lacked the effort necessary for the NFL. He’s putting in his time — even if he doesn’t necessarily want to.
“If I lied and said I did enjoy camp, then you shouldn’t ask me any more questions,” McClain said, laughing.
He’s gotten further than some might have expected, and as the regular season opener draws closer, it almost comes as a surprise that he’s still on the roster. But the Cowboys are certainly glad to have him. Their linebacking depth is lacking, particularly following the injury to Sean Lee.
He’s trying to be a new man and help push forward the ailing Cowboys’ defenses. He’s limiting his off the field problems by cutting out people — friends and family — who are close to him that are bad influences. Alleviating the trouble off the field makes him better on the field.
“I’m just an overall better man,” McClain said. “That makes me a better football player, a better boyfriend, a better father. You’ve got to start with the base, man, get yourself right and then fill in the blanks from there. That’s what I had to do.”