Rolando McClain is lucky. He’s lucky to have been born with the ideal size and athleticism necessary to make a living in a tough business. He’s lucky to have been drafted into the best family in all of football – the Oakland Raiders. Most of all he’s lucky to have a level headed general manager like Reggie McKenzie.
There’s a reason why guys like me will never work in an NFL front office. I’d have sent McClain packing, no questions asked the second the judge threw down the gavel and sentenced the troubled yet talented middle linebacker. For me there is no need to wait for the ultimate legal truth to be told. Bad judgment is as bad judgment does.
Luckily for McClain his new boss is willing to let bygones be bygones. McKenzie is taking the tunnel vision approach with McClain looking in one direction only – forward.
I’m not going to hold anything over his head about what he’s done in the past. We’re only concerned with what he does from here on out. Coaches preach to the players about being accountable, being disciplined on and off the field, so we’ll take care of the issues as they come.
McClain truly is fortunate. Make no mistake he didn’t roll out of the womb as an NFL middle linebacker. McClain has put in the work necessary and then some to be in the position he finds himself as a paid professional. He’s also failed to live up to his draft status. But that is par for the course as evident by his immature ways.
McClain is also fortunate to have been drafted as high as he was by Al Davis. Top 10 picks generally get the benefit of the doubt in situations like this, especially when they’re playing for a cash-strapped team that needs all hands on deck.
Under different circumstances McClain might not have been so lucky. He might have been out of the game regardless of his pending retrial. He’s almost guaranteed to miss some portion of the upcoming season if not due to a jail sentence certainly by way of suspension. Yet McKenzie still stands by his side.
Rolando McClain is very lucky. With the way McKenzie has sliced and diced the payroll while preaching character above all it would have been all too easy to justify cutting McClain from the roster.
Of course a young man like McClain might not have learned anything from being sent packing as some other team would have certainly extended another offer. So in many ways being under the watchful eye of McKenzie could be the best remedy possible for what ails McClain.
Rolando McClain is indeed lucky. But luck is just a product of hard work. The time has come for McClain to up his work rate on the field and then double it when he’s off the field. The reality is he’s living off of potential and that might only carry him through one more year as a Raider. He’s also one more misstep off the field away from potentially being out of football for a prolonged period of time. McClain isn’t so lucky he can avoid the long arm of the law.