When the Ravens signed linebacker Rolando McClain to a one-year contract last week, the move presented a second chance for the former Butkus Award Winner.
McClain, the eighth-overall pick by the Raiders in the 2010 draft, comes to Baltimore after three years in Oakland where fell short of lofty expectations.
He was released as part of a salary-cap purge by the Raiders, following a disappointing 2012 season. The move also came after McClain failed to stay out of trouble, as he was suspended by the team for two games last year and also had multiple run-ins with law enforcement.
While McClain struggled on and off the field during his time in Oakland, Baltimore has a foundation of veteran leaders in place that gave Ravens brass confidence about bringing him to Baltimore.
"As far as how he's going to conduct himself here, he's coming here just to be part of the football team," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I think that the guys in the locker room will be able to provide him with the proper guidance that he needs, as to the way that John [Harbaugh, head coach] wants his football team and his football players to be."
Before signing his deal with the Ravens, McClain told the Madison Weekly News in Madison, Ala. that he thought it was a move that couldn't go wrong. The former Alabama standout will reunite with college teammates Courtney Upshaw and Terrence Cody.
Newsome is also an Alabama alum, but he said that he relied on Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz to get information on McClain, rather than his connections at Alabama.
"The first person I talked to about Rolando was Joe Hortiz, and he went to Auburn," Newsome said. "Joe has a very good relationship with the people that work at the University of Alabama. He's able to get great information. Joe was the first person that I talked to about Rolando."
McClain, 23, is just three years out of college so the Ravens could reference interviews and meetings* *they had with him a few years ago when he was entering the draft. While he was gone before the Ravens picked in 2010, they still did their research on him during the pre-draft process.
McClain entered the NFL with expectations of becoming a run-stuffing linebacker and dominant defender, but all the Ravens are asking of him now is to focus on the opportunity to make the active roster this fall.
"Rolando is getting an opportunity to come in and make our 53-man squad," Newsome said. "That's it."