You shouln’t be washed up at 25, but it looked like linebacker Roland McClain just might be. Drafted 8th in 2010, McClain had trouble with the law and couldn’t get a foothold in the NFL, where his immense talents weren’t getting asserted. McClain looked like a bust after failing to make an impact for the Oakland Raiders or in a brief, subsequent stint as a Baltimore Raven. He sort of retired at 23–a Ricky Williams kind of move without the Ricky Williams kind of football achievements.
Dallas got him in July as part of a Cowboys-Ravens trade that mainly involved low-level draft picks. And he’s on fire for the Cowboys (5-1) who are better than they’ve been in years. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli told the Dallas Morning News that McClain is “really a terrific leader in his own way. Guys seem to rally around a guy like that, physical presence. He hits. He runs. He likes to practice. He practices hard. He leads by what he does.” McClain made 43 tackles as a Cowboys, with two interceptions and a sack.