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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
McClain says he retired, but he really quit

By Jamison Hensley


When inside linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest 10 days after signing with the Baltimore Ravens, this told me that he wasn't committed to playing in the NFL. A month later, it looks like this was the case.

McClain abruptly announced his retirement at the age of 23, ending a bizarre 33-day career with the Ravens. Getting arrested three times in 11 months raises questions about character. But giving up on a career just three years after being the No. 8 overall pick in the draft raises questions about McClain's current state of mind.

Perhaps McClain realized his days in Baltimore were numbered when the Ravens traded up in the second round to draft Arthur Brown a month ago. Maybe McClain surmised no team was going to give him a third chance. Or it could be a case of McClain not caring any more. No one knows at this point.

McClain can call it retiring, but it's not. It's a retirement when 37-year-old Ray Lewis decides to leave the game. When 23-year-olds walk away, it's quitting. Plain and simple.

The hope is that McClain can somehow get his life in order. Based on his track record, leaving the game isn't the best decision. McClain struggled in a controlled and structured environment in the NFL. Beyond the arrests, he was suspended for two games seven months ago after an argument with his head coach. Now, McClain is on his own. You don't want to see another Titus Young, whose life has spiraled out of control since he was released by the Detroit Lions.

The Ravens will move on. Brown now has a clear path to start with McClain gone. The bigger question is what the future holds for McClain.