Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for 10 games by the NFL, according to ESPN. McClain will serve his suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season.
McClain is no stranger to off-the-field problems, as he was suspended for four games in 2015 for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. McClain was found to have violated that policy once again, and per league rules, he will now serve a 10-game suspension this coming season.
Rolando McClain recently signed a new contract with the Cowboys and, as a result of his latest suspension, could be obligated to repay a $750,000 signing bonus he received as part of the one-year deal he agreed to last March.
McClain was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, chosen by the Oakland Raiders. However, McClain’s career has been marked by substance-abuse issues and attitude problems, as reported by NFL.com.
McClain was suspended by the Raiders in 2012 for conduct detrimental to the team, which reportedly stemmed from behavior that led coaches to kick him out of a team practice. Oakland decided to cut their losses with Rolando McClain in 2013, releasing him from the team.
The Baltimore Ravens signed McClain as a free agent, but the former Alabama Crimson Tide star decided to retire from football in 2013. The Ravens still held McClain’s rights when he decided to return to the NFL in 2014, but rather than give him another chance, Baltimore traded him to the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 2014 season.
Rolando McClain has now been suspended by the NFL twice as a member of the Cowboys, but he has played well for the team when he’s been on the field. Over the past two years in Dallas, McClain has tallied 167 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions as the team’s starting middle linebacker.
Despite his contributions on the field, McClain has continued to be a challenge to the NFL teams who have employed him. In addition to his substance-abuse issues as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, McClain has drawn the ire of team officials with his perceived lack of commitment.
McClain did not attend the Cowboys’ recent voluntary off-season workouts, perhaps sending a message to the team that his mind may be straying from football once again. Now that McClain has tested positive for banned or illegal substances for the second time, his career in the NFL appears to be in serious jeopardy.
This latest suspension leaves the Cowboys’ defense in a very depleted state. Previously, defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence were slapped with four-game suspensions by the NFL. Gregory’s punishment came as a result of his fourth failed drug test, as documented by the NFL. Lawrence was suspended by the league due to testing positive for amphetamine use, as outlined by Bleacher Report.
DeMarcus Lawrence appealed his four-game suspension, but it was announced today that the NFL has denied that motion, so he will join Randy Gregory and Rolando McClain on the sideline to begin the Dallas Cowboys’ 2016 campaign.
The Dallas Cowboys, known as “America’s Team” due to their nationwide popularity, have fallen on hard times over the past two years. The team suffered through a 4-12 season in 2015, primarily due to the absence of star quarterback Tony Romo. Romo sustained multiple injuries last season, which caused him to miss 12 of the team’s 16 regular season contests.
Now, Dallas must go into the 2016 season missing three key members of the defense. It would seem that Tony Romo, top draft pick Ezekiel Elliott, and the rest of the offense will have to make up for what the defense will lack. Given that Romo will be returning from injury and Elliott is a rookie, that will be a tall order indeed.
[Photo by Roger Steinman/AP Images]