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Jerry Jones: Excited about Rolando McClain, but he's no savior

08/28/2014 11:51 PM

08/28/2014 11:53 PM

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.”

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Charean Williams has covered the NFL for 21 seasons. She's a Hall of Fame voter, a past president of the Pro Football Writers of America and a proud Aggie. Follow her on Twitter at @NFLCharean

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has been the Dallas Cowboys beat writer since 1997. He's battle tested with one playoff win, six coaches, countless scandals, controversies and unfullfilled expectations. Follow him on Twitter at @clarencehilljr

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Drew Davison joined the Star-Telegram as a correspondent in 2007, primarily covering high schools along with helping out with Rangers, Cowboys and colleges coverage. He became one of the Rangers beat writers in July 2011, and also assists with coverage of Texas Motor Speedway and the Cowboys during the offseason. Davison graduated from the University of Kansas and had internships at The Kansas City Star and MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @drewdavison

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Jimmy Burch is the college sports and golf writer/columnist for the Star-Telegram. He also covers the Dallas Cowboys and other Dallas-Fort Worth pro sports. Follow him on Twitter at @Jimmy_Burch

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