The Dallas Cowboys continued their search for a middle linebacker to replace the injured Sean Lee with a trade with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday to acquire formerly retired linebacker Rolando McClain, according to multiple sources.
The Cowboys gave up a sixth-round pick in 2015 for McClain and Baltimore’s 2015 seventh-round pick.
McClain, who has decided to come out of retirement for the second time in the last year, was officially reinstated from the reserve/retired list Tuesday.
Lee was placed on injured reserve to make room for McClain, ending his season. Lee suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the first day of organized team activities in May.
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Much of the team’s focus in minicamp was trying to find Lee’s replacement. Veteran Justin Durant has been working with the first team. Second-year man DeVonte Holloman and rookie Anthony Hitchens were in-house options heading into training camp.
Now they add the talented, but troubled McClain to the mix.
McClain had 246 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in three seasons with Oakland after being picked eighth overall in 2010.
But he has not played football since 2012 when he was suspended for two games for arguing with Oakland coach Dennis Allen.
It was McClain’s hit in the preseason in 2012 that left Dallas tight end Jason Witten with a lacerated spleen.
McClain was also arrested three times in an 11-month span.
He was released by the Raiders in 2013 and signed with the Ravens, but retired soon after.
He talked of coming back again, but retired again.
Now he said he is ready to play again, and the Cowboys are giving him that chance in what they are terming a low-risk gamble.
McClain, 24, has a lot of football left if he has a renewed commitment to the game. If he doesn’t produce, the Cowboys can move on without any major commitment.
The only other question is whether he is “the right kind of guy” that coach Jason Garrett routinely describes as the type of player he wants on his team.
The Cowboys report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on July 22. Their first full workout is July 24.