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How Nick Saban Encouraged Cowboys to Sign McClain

Rolando McClain was signed by the Cowboys on July 1

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has made something of a tradition of visiting other successful coaches throughout the sports world during the offseason, and this habit may have played a role in the team’s acquisition of the retired-until-just-recently linebacker Rolando McClain.

    Back in 2008, when he was just a second-year offensive coordinator, Garrett visited Nick Saban and the University of Alabama. While there, Saban told Garrett that McClain--a true sophomore for the Crimson Tide at the time--might be one of the best players he’s ever coached.

    “When a guy like that says that, who’s been around for as long as he has and has so many good players, it kind of gets your attention,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “So I can remember watching him in college and certainly we evaluated him very closely coming out. He was a top-10 pick by the Raiders when he came out of school and someone who has an immense amount of ability and, more than that, production. He was a really, really good college player and I think people have a lot of hopes for him as a pro player.

    “Certainly he’s had some issues since he’s been in the NFL--played a couple of years, retired, unretired--and the research that we did, the due diligence we did, both with Coach Saban and other people who have been around him, we felt like with his ability with the kind of person he’s demonstrated himself to be in the past, maybe we can help him through some of these issues he has and get this guy back playing at the level we all thought he was capable of playing.”

    McClain traveled to Southern California with the rest of the team for training camp this week, but he is due in court in Decatur, Alabama on Friday on year-old charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

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