Thursday, October 24, 2013
'Amazing' comeback for Jameel McClain
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Eight years after watching New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi return from a minor stroke in the same year, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees watched another one of his players make what he described as an "amazing" comeback.
Jameel McClain was the Ravens' starting inside linebacker Sunday in his first game back since suffering a spinal cord contusion 10 months ago. He finished as the team's third-leading tackler in Pittsburgh with five on defense and one on special teams.
"For a guy to be out 10 months and come back and practice three days and play 28 plays in that game, amazing," Pees said. "This guy had been told a few months back he was never going to play football again. So, to mentally stay that into it and that in tune and have no missed assignments in that game whatsoever ... You could tell he was a little tentative maybe in taking on some blocks at times, but I don't think it was because he was scared. He just hadn't been out there doing it. It was more that than I didn't see anything backing off. That's an amazing feat to me.”
Josh Bynes, who had replaced McClain, couldn't play against the Steelers because he had surgery on his infected finger. So, McClain replaced Bynes last Sunday and played 30 of the Ravens' 59 snaps.
Bynes is expected to return to practice after the bye, so the Ravens have to decide whether to stick with McClain or go back to Bynes as the starting inside linebacker.
"I thought he played a good game," coach John Harbaugh said of McClain. "Given the circumstances, [he] probably played really well. [He] hadn't played for a long time, hadn't practiced much, was throw into a situation because of Josh's [Bynes] situation where he had to play quite a few snaps. He did a solid job, and he's only going to get better from here on out. He came out of it healthy, so that's important. He'll really benefit from the next couple days of work.”