The Cowboys are heading into the season with tempered expectations about linebacker Rolando McClain.
Two weeks ago owner Jerry Jones expressed excitement about possibly hitting a home run with McClain, a former 2011 first-round pick of the Raiders who is returning to football in 2014 after sitting out year in retirement.
McClain flashed physical play and quickness during a stint in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos, his third preseason game after not playing football since being cut by the Raiders in 2012.
With each outing, he has slowly showed flashes of the potential that made him the eighth overall pick after an All-America career at Alabama.
But the Cowboys aren’t ready to name McClain the starting middle linebacker for the season opener. Rookie Anthony Hitchens remains an option for that spot.
“I don’t think Rolando is going to be the savior of this team,” Jones said. “We don’t have Sean Lee, but Rolando does have the skill level to come in here and really add to what we can do. But we’re going to need of him. But I don’t want anybody to think I expect him to be Dick Butkus or even Sean Lee. That’s not there. You’re a little excited when you see some of the things he does physically, but he hasn’t played for a year and a half.”