According to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, McClain sent a text to ESPN.com explaining the decision to not report to Baltimore Ravens training camp after being activated off the reserve-retired list:
"I gotta follow my heart," McClain said. "It ain't football. If football made me complete I would play. But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. ... This means I'm done."
The former Alabama Crimson Tide star tweeted this message out shortly after his retirement became public:
Hopefully I see most of y'all on the other side one day. Until then...— Rolando McClain (@RMcClain205) April 21, 2014
Jamison Hensley of ESPN pointed out the length of time between the two retirements:
Rolando McClain's decision to walk away comes six days after his failed first workout from #Ravens and 11 months after his first retirement.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) April 21, 2014
After taking the entire 2013 campaign off, McClain seemingly had a change of heart about his decision to hang up his cleats last week. He made it clear he wanted to return to the game, but it didn’t take long for problems to begin arising.
According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, McClain showed up late to his initial workout with the Ravens this past Tuesday and was subsequently unable to finish his conditioning test or complete any drills.
The dreadful performance proved that McClain wasn’t physically where he needed to be in order to make a successful return to the highest level of football, and this latest retirement announcement revealed he wasn’t mentally ready, either.
McClain first retired last year after being released from the Oakland Raiders in April 2013, the team that selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft. He signed with the Ravens on a one-year, $700,000 contract, but never suited up for the club and it appears he never will.
During his three-season tenure in the NFL, McClain recorded 246 combined tackles and 6.5 sacks but was best known for his off-the-field issues. He was arrested three times over the course of 11 months and claimed he needed to step away to get his affairs in order.
It appears that this retirement will be the last we hear from McClain in the NFL. It is hard enough to get a second chance to play in the league, and there is little likelihood of him getting a third opportunity, especially after so much time away from the game.
This move will have little effect on Baltimore. The Ravens, who finished last season 8-8 and missed the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl, are looking to get back on track in 2014. They'll do so without McClain, whom they knew was a low-risk signing when they brought him on.