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Cowboys Linebacker Rolando McClain Ready To Take Advantage Of Opportunity

In a recent interview, Rolando McClain was quite candid about some of the issues he's been dealing with, and says that he's now ready to make the most of the opportunity afforded to him by the Dallas Cowboys.


One of the things with the way almost all media works these days is that everything is reduced to convenient soundbites. Yesterday, Rolando McClain gave an almost six-minute interview after the morning practice, but you won’t find a transcript of that interview anywhere (except here, of course).

Instead, what you’ll get are little snippets from the interview, conveniently packaged into easily digestible articles:

And by itself, breaking up a long interview into individual snippets is not a bad thing of course. But as you can see from the many different headlines above, there were a lot of things McCain talked about that simply won't fit into a handful of paragraphs in a short article. Which is why you'll find the full transcript of McClain's interview below. As usual, all errors in transcription are mine, and also as usual, you can watch the whole thing on


Q: Talk about the opportunity you have here and how you’re viewing this.

McClain: "This is a great opportunity. You only get this many chances in the NFL. So the best thing I can do is take advantage of it, work my butt off and try to make this team and be the best I can be."

Q: Were you surprised by the outcome yesterday in court?

McClain: "Very. But we appealed it, so it’s still open so that’s all I’ll say about that."

Q: What was the decision to un-retire. Obviously, you’ve done that a couple of times. Why did you want to come back?

McClain: "I think I officially retired once. But I feel like if I hadn’t retired then … My life wasn’t going in the right path. Me being a young father of two, I had to sit down and realize I have things I need to do in order to be a better man for those two little boys. The best thing for me to do was to get away from football and work on my personal life. I told Mr. Newsome [Baltimore’s GM] when I felt like I had that clear I would come back."

"Unfortunately when I did come back [to Baltimore], everything wasn’t settled. At the end of the day, I still have to stay true to my word and true to my family. Those are my two boys. I said, 'Hey, I’m still not ready; my family’s still not in order. I still need to take care of that first.’ So I made the decision to go back home and get that in order. Just working [things] out."

"I asked my oldest son, once we got pretty settled, what he wanted me to do, if he wanted me to go back to football. He said, ‘Yes.’ The next thing from there was to get back in football shape and then Mr. Jones called me. I don’t know. It was a done deal from there."

Q: What have you learned in going through all theses struggles that makes you think it will work this time?

McClain: "Life is about struggling. Life is about getting knocked down. You’ve just got to get back up. These things that I’ve been going through are no different from anything else that I’ve gone through in life from a young age."

"It’s just adversity. You learn to fight through it. It helps you grow, become a better man from it. I just learned you’ve got to take it for what it is. It’s a great opportunity."

"Think about how many kids from your neighborhood said they have a dream, they want to play in the NFL. I’ve got a great, God-given ability football-wise. But I feel I’ve got another talent, just being able to teach some younger kids. In my time away I realized I like coaching. I like being able to give back to the guys, just being around the university. I still feel like I’ve got some knowledge for anybody willing to listen. But you don’t want to be a distraction to any team."

Q: Can you become the player you were at Alabama again, despite two years away?

McClain: "I don’t know [smiles broadly], we’ll see. We’ll see soon."

Q: When you look at the linebacker situation here and the competition at basically every spot, how good a spot is this specifically for you in Dallas?

McClain: "It’s my first day here. Really, this will be my first practice with the guys, this will be my first time seeing the guys run around. I’m just taking it for my first day, enjoy my mistakes, enjoy when I do something well. Yesterday I was sitting in a court room not knowing what was going to happen. Today I’m here with the Dallas Cowboys with an opportunity to make a football team and fight for a position. You can’t argue with that."

Q: Did you feel that you had to convince Jerry Jones that you wanted play again when you talked to him?

McClain: "No, I think he convinced me I needed to play again. He called me from Turkey and I figured that had to be an expensive phone call, so … It was pretty serious with me from that point."

Q: Is this defense like anything you’ve played in before?

McClain: "It’s a 4-3, so it’s a little bit different from college where I had the most success. But it’s football. Tackle the guy with the ball. Tackle the guy who catches the ball. It’s pretty easy."

Q: What’s it like just being a guy working for a roster spot versus a guy coming in as a top ten pick?

McClain: "It doesn’t matter. You approach it the same way. That’s the way you get better."

Q: Why are you convinced that now your attitude and approach is right to make this work?

McClain: "I didn’t ever feel that my attitude was wrong. I just had a lot of outside distractions. And if you can’t be 100% at your job, you’re not going to be the best at it. Plain and simple."

"My thing, I had to eliminate those distractions, understand football is my job, my livelihood. When you’re away from the game, you realize how much you miss it, so now you take advantage of the opportunity you’re given and do the best you can do."

Q. How did you stay in shape?

McClain: "Do you have kids? I have a three-year old and two-year old. That’s how I stayed in shape. I went back to the University of Alabama. I was in the best shape of my life there, so why not go back? Just working out there."

Q: Jason Garrett said that Nick Saban gave a huge endorsement to him about you. What does that mean to you?

McClain: "He’s Coach Saban first and foremost. I didn’t think he’d have anything bad to say about me. I know we had a pretty close relationship. I love the guy to death. When I’m in Tuscaloosa I have to go see him at least every week. We’ve got a good relationship. I can’t let him down. I know he stuck his neck out there for me. So it’s a little bit more personal for me. It is what it is now."

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