DALLAS Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, sidelined all season while serving a 10-game suspension, has been banned indefinitely by the NFL for violating its drug policy.
McClain was eligible to return to the Cowboys last month, and while owner Jerry Jones said he’d been in constant contact with the 27-year-old linebacker and he wanted to return to the team, Jones said he would not do so yet. On Friday, the NFL handed down more punishment.
It’s another frustrating blow to the Dallas defence, which also has been without defensive end Randy Gregory all season due to a drug suspension. Last month it was reported that Gregory had tested positive again and was facing a one-year suspension. However, Jones said he was not giving up on the troubled 24-year-old.
However, McClain’s latest punishment may mean the end of his Cowboys career. It’s his third suspension since the end of the 2014 season.
“Rolando has got to work on his off-the-field situations before he can even begin to think about being a productive player on the field,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said on his radio show Friday. “We certainly wish him the best.”
The eighth overall draft pick by Oakland in 2010 out of Alabama, McClain had three disappointing seasons before the Raiders dumped him. McClain signed with Baltimore shortly after his release but retired twice while with the Ravens.
The Cowboys were looking for help at linebacker in 2014 after leading tackler Sean Lee sustained a season-ending knee injury in off-season workouts. McClain decided he wanted to play and came to Dallas in a trade just before training camp.
McClain had a career-high 108 tackles that first year with Dallas, second to safety Barry Church and good enough to get him another one-year contract. But a four-game suspension shortened his second season before the announcement in June that he was banned 10 games for another substance-abuse violation.
McClain has 479 tackles and 9 1/2 sacks in 345 games with 134 starts over five seasons.