By CJ Carlson
Indefinite bans are usually the end of a player’s career in the NFL. Even if their ban is lifted, chances usually are that teams opt to stay away from them due to their history. However, that doesn’t mean that the league won’t lift bans years after they’ve been placed. For example, the eight-year long indefinite ban on Rolando McClain has been lifted, making him free to sign with any team that he’d like.
McClain was drafted eighth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the formerly known Oakland Raiders. The linebacker out of Alabama had a very high ceiling but had a number of off the field incidents that were nagging his career. In the third year of his rookie deal, the Raiders cut him completely. He wasn’t just cut for his off the field issues, that was made worse due to his inability to produce when on the field. After that, he went to the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year contract but retired before the next season began.
A year passed by and he came out of retirement to join the Dallas Cowboys in the form of a trade. He became a leader over there and it looked like his career would get back on track. Then, he got handed a four-game suspension for substance abuse in 2015. He still played at a high level after the suspension, but he was hit with a 10-game suspension in the following offseason for the exact same offense. To make matters worse, he was halfway through the 10-game ban when he failed another drug test, forcing the league to change the suspension to an indefinite ban.
The Indefinite Ban Being Lifted Might Not Matter
Reports were coming out at the time that McClain would be practically unable to ever get off the indefinite ban list due to his additional problems/history. It took three years for McClain to get reinstated by the league, only to get released from the Cowboys roster, and then placed back onto the indefinite ban list a few months later. Fast forward another five years, and the league has lifted that indefinite ban completely.
Although I don’t expect to see him try to make an NFL comeback anytime soon. He’s currently 34 years old and hasn’t played football in over eight years. It was difficult for him to return to game speed in 2016 when he came out of a one-year retirement. The chances of him returning after eight years feels improbable. At the end of the day though, McClain is no longer on the league’s bad side.