Ravens reinstate Rolando McClain

Linebacker had shaky workout with team Tuesday

  • Inside linebacker Rolando McClain with the Oakland Raiders in 2011.
Inside linebacker Rolando McClain with the Oakland Raiders… (Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports )
April 17, 2014|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens apparently haven’t closed the door on middle linebacker Rolando McClain just yet.

Two days after McClain had a shaky workout in front of team officials, failing to pass the conditioning test and struggling in drills, the Ravens activated the 24-year-old from the reserved/retired list.

The Ravens haven’t commented on the decision and it’s unclear where this leaves McClain’s status for the 2014 season. However, the move does allow McClain, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since late in the 2012 season, to join the team for offseason workouts, which start Monday in Owings Mills.

Wanting to get his personal life in order and take care of off-the-field issues, which included three arrests in just over a year’s span, McClain retired last May a little over a month after he signed with the Ravens following his release from the Oakland Raiders.

McClain, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft out of the University of Alabama, spent the year back in Tuscaloosa, working out with the Crimson Tide football team and finishing his degree. He voiced a desire to return to the NFL and let general manager Ozzie Newsome know of his intentions during a meeting earlier this offseason.

His workout earlier this week disappointed team officials but didn’t come as a huge surprise because Ravens decision makers knew that he hadn’t been in an NFL game or practice environment in more than a year. There were some reports that McClain, whose lack of dedication and professionalism contributed to his release by the Raiders, arrived late for his workout at the Under Armour Performance Center. A team source denied that was the case.

Still, there was no debate among Ravens officials who witnessed the workout that McClain was nowhere close to the form that would allow him to contribute to the team in 2014.

While the Ravens’ decision to reinstate him seemingly indicates a willingness to give McClain another opportunity and a chance to get in shape in a more structured environment, it certainly doesn’t guarantee that the linebacker will be with the team going forward.

But the Ravens are looking to add inside linebacker depth behind projected starters Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown. Holdovers Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan are the top reserves, though the team is also expected to address the position in next month’s draft.

Getting a longer look at McClain really carries no risk. If he makes the team, he’d play the season on a one-year, $700,000 contract.

However, McClain does come with a host of questions and plenty of off-the-field baggage. He mostly struggled in three seasons with the Raiders, starting 38 games and making 246 tackles to go along with 61/2 sacks and one interception.

]Then, there were his multiple brushes with the law, including one incident that happened a little over a week after he signed with the Ravens. McClain was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest following a disturbance in a Decatur, Ala., park. That case is still pending.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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