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Rolando McClain is the the top middle linebacker in free agency and is a top-level difference-maker for the Dallas defense, too, a prioritized guy for the Cowboys.

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Unless he doesn’t have his priorities straight.

ESPN is reporting that McClain faces a substance-abuse penalty of four games; 105.3 The Fan is told that it is not a four-game suspension but rather a four-game fine.

Using the parameters of the new NFL drug policy (and assuming in this example that it’s marijuana use):

The punishment for a first-time offense is now entry into the substance-abuse program (with no penalty). Second positive test? A two-game fine. Third positive test? A four-game fine.

From there comes a level of a four-game suspension (for a fifth failed test) and then for a sixth failed test, a 10-game suspension.

This is part of a new level of NFL leniency for pot; The threshold for a positive test has been increased from 15 ng/ml to 35 ng/ml.

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This is also, obviously, proof that McClain is in the substance-abuse program and that Dallas traded for him (at a very cheap price) with knowledge of that.

The next very cheap price? Cap-conscious Cowboys fans would like that to translate to an inexpensive contract to retain their star-caliber defender.

But the Cowboys will be careful here in negotiations; the enigmatic McClain has already retired twice from the NFL before the age of 26, and telling him he’s one of those “It’s-Always-Something’’ kinda guys — while true — is no way to win his faith.

Of course, McClain failing a series of drug tests is no way to win the Cowboys’ faith, either.

Mike Fisher
Emmy Award Winning Journalist
CBS Radio
Fox Sports Southwest


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