Rolando McClain was property of the Ravens for less than 15 months, a period in which he never participated in a single practice for the organization, yet he managed to make plenty of headlines. Here is a look at McClain’s tumultuous stay in Baltimore:
April 12, 2013: The Ravens signed McClain, the former first-round draft pick who had been cut a week earlier by the Oakland Raiders amid a series of off-the-field issues, to a one-year, $700,000 contract that included $400,000 in playing-time incentives. It made sense for both sides. The Ravens needed to improve their middle linebacker depth with Ray Lewis retired, Dannell Ellerbe gone via free agency and Jameel McClain recovering from a career-threatening spinal cord contusion. For McClain, the shared University of Alabama ties with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and the reigning Super Bowl champions offered him a winning environment to restart his once-promising career.
April 21, 2013: McClain again found himself in legal trouble as he was arrested in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., after police responded to a disturbance in a local park. McClain was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after he allegedly shouted an expletive in the direction of a police officer. It was his third arrest in a 16-month span. The Ravens vowed to review the incident.
May 15, 2013: Just 23 years old, McClain informed Ravens officials that he would retire from the NFL to get his personal life in order. The linebacker was going through a divorce and dealing with mounting legal issues. The Ravens placed him on the reserved/retired list. They would sign veteran free agent Daryl Smith a couple weeks later.
March 12, 2014: Speaking to reporters at Alabama’s Pro Day, McClain hinted that he was considering coming back to the NFL, but there were still some things that he had to take care of to make that a reality. McClain had spent the previous several months taking class at Alabama in an effort to finish his degree and working out under the watchful eye of Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
March 25, 2014: During his annual talk with reporters at the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando, Fla., Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he hadn’t communicated with McClain about an NFL return, but he didn’t oppose the linebacker joining the team on a couple conditions. "Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up?" Harbaugh said. "He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he's working. If he's working his rear end off, then I'm kind of excited about him. If he's not, then I've got no interest in him being on our team."
April 15, 2014: McClain got the opportunity to show the Ravens how serious that he was about his comeback when he was granted a workout in front of team officials. However, it didn’t go well as McClain couldn’t finish the conditioning test and looked considerably rusty during the individual drills.
April 18, 2014: In somewhat of a surprise move given the disappointment of McClain’s workout, the Ravens activated the linebacker off the reserved/retired list. The Ravens didn’t comment on the move, which technically allowed McClain to participate in the offseason workouts at the team facility.
April 22, 2014: Instead of reporting to the Ravens’ facility for the first day of the offseason workout program, McClain told team officials that he again had decided to retire and this time it was for good. “If football made me complete I would play,” he said in a text message to ESPN.com. “But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. ... This means I'm done.” The Ravens moved him back to the reserved/retired list.
July 1, 2014: The Ravens traded the rights to McClain, plus a 2015 seventh-round draft pick, to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2015 sixth-round selection. The Cowboys, who are thin at linebacker after standout Sean Lee sustained a season-ending knee injury in the offseason, activated McClain from the reserved/retired list. His agent said in a text message to The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson that McClain plans to play this year.