He captained one of the best defenses in Alabama history in 2009, however, former Crimson Tide standout and current Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Rolando McClain can’t escape trouble.
McClain has been suspended the first four games of the 2015 NFL season without pay, due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. According to ESPN, the 25-year-old can return to the Cowboys’ roster on Oct.5, after the team’s Week 4 meeting with the New Orleans Saints.
McClain will be eligible to participate in training camp and preseason games.
He did not participate in voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) because he was rehabbing his knee at Alabama. McClain is coming off a solid year last season, in which he totaled 108 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack in 13 games. He missed four games due to injuries, but was huge defensively for Dallas.
The Cowboys re-signed McClain to a one-year deal worth $3 million.
The contract included a $500,000 signing bonus and a base salary of $750,000. McClain has pulled the retirement card twice in his career, including in April 2014 when he told ESPN that he lost his desire to play football. He was traded from Baltimore to Dallas in July 2014.
McClain’s mistake leaves the Cowboys without two huge contributors this fall. Defensive end Greg Hardy will serve a 10-game suspension for his role in a domestic violence case.
Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.