When former Raiders/Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain decided to pull the plug on his NFL career back in May at the age of just 23, a lot of people wondered why he did it. We speculated that it was because of all the legal trouble he had gotten himself into in recent years. Since entering the NFL back in 2010, he has been arrested on at least two occasions for relatively serious crimes.
However, McClain just came out and admitted that he did not retire solely because of his legal issues. They did play a role in his decision to retire. But he also says that he felt so much rage and anger in recent years that he felt like continuing his NFL career was going to end with him going to prison. And he didn't want that for himself.
"I felt like Aaron Hernandez," he told ESPN The Magazine recently, "like I just wanted to kill somebody."
So rather than continue with his NFL career, McClain went back to school at Alabama to earn his college degree and, more importantly, to bring some sort of calm to his life. He claims that he has spent the last three years fielding calls from friends and family about borrowing money from him. And it all became too much for him to take, which is why he ultimately decided to step away from football to focus on getting back into the right state of mind.
"[I] would have ended up locked in a cage like an animal," he said, while discussing what he thinks would have happened to him if he hadn't retired. "That had to be the only outcome."
It's kind of surprising to hear McClain talk about what a negative effect the NFL had on his life. But it's good to hear that he retired to try and get his life in order. Most guys wouldn't have had the courage to do that. And who knows? If he does get everything straightened out, maybe he would be willing to give the league a second chance. It would be one hell of a comeback story, that's for sure.