So Rolando McClain showed up late for a workout in front of Ravens’ officials yesterday and then promptly failed his conditioning test.
Same old Rolando?
Maybe, maybe not.
It’s easy to assume that the guy is still a mess given his track record but should we, and more importantly the Ravens rush to judgment?
Some may argue that the guy is fighting to save his career and that he should have been in great shape and passed his conditioning test with flying Crimson Tide colors. But let’s not forget that Jacoby Jones also flunked his test prior to training camp last season and that was after the physical endurance forced upon him during his stint on Dancing With The Stars.
Failing the test isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The more alarming aspect of yesterday’s workout is the fact that McClain arrived late.
The former Raider retired from football last year in order to get his life together, become a better man and a better father. That’s commendable if it’s genuine. So far there’s no reason to believe otherwise.
Yet many will conclude that he’s the same old Rolando since he showed up late for what amounts to a job interview. And that’s a fair and logical conclusion.
But is his tardiness enough to give up on the “project”?
Let’s assume for a moment that McClain gets it together and becomes the player that many expected him to be when he was drafted (probably too early) by the Oakland Raiders with the 8th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
What kind of player would that be?
We looked back to WalterFootball.com’s scouting report on McClain and here’s what they summarized:
I really don’t think McClain is a 4-3 inside linebacker. The speed and lateral range just isn’t there for me, and I think he would be exposed because he will overpursue gaps. McClain is great for 3-4 teams because he can play inside, but also move over to the outside if needed temporarily. His best fits are at 3-4 inside linebacker and 4-3 strongside linebacker. McClain is a solid prospect who will likely come off the board in the top 20 picks.
Player Comparison: Bart Scott. Scott has great instincts and size, and is a leader at inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
Clearly McClain’s “leadership” will come into question. It will take some time for him to earn the respect of his peers since he has disrespected a game that paid him $40 million over 5 seasons including $23M guaranteed as a 20-year-old in 2010.
And let’s not forget that the Ravens re-signed their defensive captain Daryl Smith and they have high expectations for second year linebacker Arthur Brown. The Ravens do have depth issues at linebacker and that coupled with the bargain basement price for the 2014 Rolando McClain, still makes the project worthy of pursuing.
Of course questions remain but why not see how they are actually answered instead of guessing?
Why not let McClain try again?
His failure yesterday could actually be a good thing. It will test his resolve. How he responds a second time, now that he understands the challenges of the conditioning test, will reveal a ton.
The Ravens hold all the cards. They could remove McClain from the Reserve/Retired list or they could retain his rights through the 2014 season. McClain could force the issue, apply for reinstatement and the Ravens would have to honor the contract agreed to last season or release McClain.
That said if McClain does force the issue and the Ravens honor the contract, they could cut him at any time without any cap ramifications. The deal includes no guaranteed money.
The Ravens have gone this far with McClain. Why not give him another shot at the conditioning test?
Assuming of course that he shows up on time.