Cowboys bring back LB Rolando McClain for 3rd season

IRVING, Texas (AP) – Linebacker Rolando McClain is returning for a third season with the Dallas Cowboys after reviving a career that had seemed to flame out in Oakland.

The agency that represents McClain, Sports Trust Advisors, said in a tweet that the 26-year-old agreed to a contract Wednesday, the first day of free agency. The deal is for one year at $5 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t released.

The eighth overall draft pick in the 2010 draft, McClain was dumped after three disappointing seasons with the Raiders and spent a year away from football before the Cowboys traded for him when Sean Lee went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first offseason workout of 2014.

Oakland released McClain after the 2012 season, and he ended up in Baltimore but never played for the Ravens. He retired once, and walked away from the game again in April 2014.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

Three months later, with Lee out for the year because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Baltimore sent McClain to Dallas just before training camp in a trade that included late-round draft picks.

Despite lingering questions about his desire to play after joining the Cowboys because he frequently sat out practices, McClain ended up second on the team in tackles in 2014 with a career-high 108.

McClain missed the first four games last season after violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He finished with 97 tackles, third behind Lee, who went to his first Pro Bowl, and safety Barry Church. McClain was out another game with a concussion.

While he was out of football in 2013, McClain was arrested for a third time since 2011 on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama. He was convicted by a judge a year later in a trial held just as Dallas’ training camp was starting, but the case was dismissed on appeal.

- Advertisement -

Now that the Cowboys have secured McClain, they are likely to look for pass-rushing help in free agency for a defense that needs impact players after finishing last in the NFL in takeaways (11) and turnover margin (minus-22) in 2015.

Troubled defensive end Greg Hardy is unlikely to return after a tumultuous season in which he was embroiled in controversy regarding a past domestic violence case in North Carolina. Second-year end Randy Gregory will miss the first four games on a substance-abuse suspension.