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Rolando McClain Retired At 24 To Deal With Serious Anger Issues

Illustration for article titled Rolando McClain Retired At 24 To Deal With Serious Anger Issues

Rolando McClain's short, tumultuous NFL career ended when he abruptly retired about a month after signing with the Ravens. Now, he's trying to get his life back on track.


After retiring, McClain moved back to Tuscaloosa and enrolled in classes at the University of Alabama to complete his degree in family financial planning. He still had money from the guaranteed portion of his rookie contract with the Raiders, but friends and family in Alabama lined up for favors. And as they built up, one instance at the end of 2011 was the last straw.

McClain claims that after his family assumed he'd foot the $20,000 bill for an extravagant funeral for his grandfather, he was furious, and his mood that day led to his arrest for firing a gun near a man's head.

As the situation worsened, McClain couldn't take it, and knew it was a problem when he starting thinking of doing unspeakable things. He scared himself straight, in a way. From Seth Wickersham at ESPN:

He then cruises into the drive-thru, orders a breakfast sandwich, and 10 minutes later he's sitting at a dock on his property, with a dip in his lip and nothing but time on his hands. Months ago, he wasn't so calm. "I was feeling like Aaron Hernandez or something," he says, "like I just wanted to kill somebody." He remembers watching Hernandez get hauled out of his house in handcuffs, later charged with first-degree murder, and being genuinely scared he'd end up the same way.


Shortly after McClain returned to Tuscaloosa, the coach did introduce McClain to a therapist. They spoke a few times, but McClain hasn't worked up the courage to commit. "I'm scared of what he might figure out about me," he says with a forced laugh.

What does he not want to know? "I don't know if I'm ready to know, man, why I was so angry. I don't know if I'm ready to know what triggers my anger. I just feel like I figured out on my own how to stay calm, how to enjoy life, how to be happy. Eventually, I might find the source of the problem, get over it. But right now…"

On a less dark note, he once told Nick Saban to shut the fuck up. He and Saban get along now, though. Read the whole thing.


Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images