‘Rolando McClain’s self-imposed exile’ Analysis

Since the Nick Saban era began at Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide has had its fair share of talent at virtually every position. One position where the talent has always been clear is linebacker.

Out of the linebackers that have come and gone since 2007, one of the most notable is Rolando McClain, a first team All-American and national champion in 2009.

McClain, who would go on to be selected as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders after three years at Alabama, was recently profiled by ESPN The Magazine senior writer Seth Wickersham on his current life after electing to retire from the NFL back in May at age 24 to get his “personal life together.”

McClain spent three years in Oakland from 2010-2012, but trouble had a way of finding McClain once he reached the NFL, as he was arrested on numerous occasions.

So how bad of shape was his personal life in?

Apparently, as we find out in Wickersham’s piece, he was afraid he was becoming an endangerment to others.

“I was feeling like Aaron Hernandez or something,” he said, “like I just wanted to kill somebody.”

Putting any Alabama fandom aside, I am glad that McClain chose to retire, especially after hearing what he says he might have done. It was apparent that he needed a change, and fortunately, he was able to realize that before it was too late.

From what I read, the change appears to have been good for him. He is finding peace within himself, he is working on finishing his degree back at The University of Alabama and he has cut off all of the bad influences in his life.

Although some of the things he still does now after all that transpired during his NFL might raise an eyebrow (owning a gun after saying at one point he “wanted to kill somebody,” his driving habits), he seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders at this point, and Wickersham did an excellent job of presenting that.

He described McClain’s life as it is now and touched on his past troubles with him, and he did so without just filling us with tons of long McClain quotes.

In fact, Wickersham didn’t use that many at all. Most of the McClain quotes are just brief five-word quotes just to confirm or get his take on each sub-topic of the story. He did so, too, without interviewing Saban at all, who didn’t reply to interview requests for the story. To be able to overcome that and still write a quality piece is something that all young writers — myself included — should take note of for our own writing.

I definitely enjoyed this story, seeing as how it’s not only Alabama-related (I’m an Alabama student, after all), but because of how it was well written as I noted earlier.

I do not care if McClain ever goes back to the NFL, which he said he will “probably” do next season. Again, any fanhood aside, I do wish the best for him, though, and I’m confident that he is capable from here on out to reach his full potential as a person first, and then as a player second.

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