FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) – I’m sitting at lunch on Thursday with a Cowboys-related fella and he nonchalantly asks me if “I’ve heard about Rolando McClain’s latest.’’ And he goes on to tell me that the Dallas middle linebacker is getting a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy (again), and that the team has known this fate for weeks.
“So at this point, who supports the idea of this guy?’’ I ask. “Just the Joneses?’’
His replay: “Take off one of the ’s’s.’’
Yeah, this is still a “Jerry deal’’ and a bad one, the Cowboys owner still envisioning his headquarters as “Second-Chance Valley Ranch.’’
But the Cowboys are now changing headquarters. … a perfect opportunity to also change their philosophy as it regards McClain.
The moment is ripe for the release of the talented-when-he-cares semi-star.
I’ve said this for two years: McClain is a power on Sundays and a pain in the ass the other six days of the week. Coaches know this and have therefore never supported Jerry’s view as the owner has twice in two offseason brought McClain back to the team.
The coaches are right. The owner is wrong.
There are other drug-and-behavioral issues at Valley Ranch, but they largely involve players who either a) care and are trying or b) are still on that famous “second chance.’’
This is McClain’s 475th chance. And he’s blown it again.
What does keeping him here accomplish? Will he be a Pro Bowl-level player when he shows up in Week 11? Nah. Actually, the smart money is on an opposite result: His continued presence (because if he’s on the team he can practice and play throughout the summer) actually clogs up the development of the other linebackers who actually show up to work seven days a week.
You can position this as “Dallas harbors miscreants!’’ and “Coach Jason Garrett is lying when he says the Cowboys want ‘The Right Kind of Guy.’’ But you are a fool to do so. The Cowboys don’t have any more “bad guys’’ than any other team. And all teams want “The Right Kind of Guy,’’ and by gosh, if Darren Woodsons and Troy Aikmans were growing on trees, my how easy would it be to assemble 32 such teams!
A better position: McClain can be made an example of here, and for the paltry cost of his $750,000 signing bonus. There is no other real negative impact — but the negative impact of his presence is huge.
He practices when he wants to, plays when he wants to, shows up when he wants to. The other five dozen or so teammates don’t have that luxury, and recently, when he was allowed to skip spring work so he could ‘spend time with family,’’ don’t think some of the other five dozen or so teammates didn’t wonder, “Hey, I’ve got family, too. Why am I not allowed to be with them?’’
In this sense, Jerry Jones should be convinced by his lieutenants that what Rolando McClain wants more than anything it to be fishing with his kids in Alabama. And Jerry should grant McClain that wish … by cutting him.
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