Injured or Otherwise, McClain Needs to Show Up For Cowboys’ Mandatory Minicamp

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There’s a reason why coaches can be fans, but fans will never be coaches.

Rolando McClain, front and center.

While fans just shrug at the linebacker’s absence from Cowboys’ OTAs at Valley Ranch this offseason in the name of “long as he’s ready for the season,” head coach Jason Garrett is beginning to show more than a little concern about one of his top defensive playmakers.

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Fans just want a W on game day; Coaches realize that success is built in the offseason, when fans aren’t necessarily looking.

Next week the Cowboys will hold a mandatory minicamp, but McClain remains in Alabama rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.

“Well, the minicamp is mandatory,” Garrett told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “It’s the only thing in the offseason that is mandatory, so it’s important for us to make sure that’s clear to everybody and express that to our players. There are some specific situations where things that you do in a mandatory fashion don’t always happen. You know players miss practice during the season for different reasons and those are mandatory. So we’ll work through the specific situations as we go. Rolando is doing a good job with his rehab, and we’ll see what his plans are for next week.”

McClain is a physically gifted and supremely instinctual linebacker. When healthy and motivated, he’s a difference-maker. The Cowboys saw that last year when he stepped in for Sean Lee and helped an improved defense lead the Cowboys to a division title and a playoff win. But during his career he’s also been a subpar performer off the field. He’s retired twice, and is considered a lackadaisical practice player at best.

He’s the kind of talent that drives coaches crazy.

The Cowboys would much rather be overseeing McClain’s recovery at Valley Ranch. But McClain wants to be in Alabama, so McClain is in Alabama.

At this point his play and potential still make him worth the minor headaches. But if he no-shows next week McClain could be fined. And the re-evaluation of his role on the Cowboys will commence.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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