Ro: “I felt like Aaron Hernandez”

ESPN.com has a new article up with more information about Rolando McClain’s sudden retirement:

Rolando McClain felt so full of anger before he walked away from the game that he was worried he would do something he would regret.

“I felt like Aaron Hernandez, like I just wanted to kill somebody,” McClain said in an interview for this week’s ESPN The Magazine.

After a string of off-field trouble, McClain was released by the Oakland Raiders in April and signed with the Baltimore Ravens. But he abruptly decided to retire at the age of 23.

As you probably know, after McClain left the Ravens, he returned to Tuscaloosa to help get his life straight.

Also, digest this nugget:

Raised in a single-parent home with guns, violence and drugs all around him, McClain ran away at 15 and lived on friends’ couches. Football was an outlet for his growing anger. But he said “football was my mask.”

Most of us don’t really appreciate what it takes to play football at a place like Alabama and we certainly don’t understand what it’s like to be raised in such conditions.  Even in our debauched culture, most of us would think that playing by the rules, keeping our noses clean and working hard would come natural.  But it doesn’t.  Granted, most college players don’t act up like Ro, but I do think we fail to recognize the tough, tough job that most college coaches have.

I think it’s interesting that Ro referred to Hernandez.  (McClain didn’t exactly give him the benefit of doubt, did he?)  But based on how McClain was raised, an outcome “like Aaron Hernandez” is probably very likely.

Good on Ro if he’s being straight up about hitting the eject button to get his life in order.  If that’s the case, he’s extremely fortunate to have come to that conclusion or that someone pointed him in that direction.   I hope everything works out for him.

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