Now he will miss the first 10 games of the season under league suspension.
McClain has been suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The Cowboys also learned Thursday that defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence’s appeal of his four-game suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy has been denied.
10 Games that Rolando McClain will miss to suspension. It might as well be 11 since his first game back comes after the short practice week for the Thanksgiving Day game.
McClain’s suspension blindsided the Cowboys, who put their trust in the veteran linebacker despite his lack of commitment to the off-season program.
He will be eligible to return to the Cowboys’ active roster on Monday, Nov. 21, after the team’s Nov. 20 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
The 10-game suspension, however, could easily turn into 11 games. McClain’s first-game after the suspension would be the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins. He will be hard-pressed to be ready for a Thursday afternoon game on three days of light practice at best.
Last year, McClain missed the first four games after a substance-abuse suspension .
This time the suspension was increased to 10 games and he could forfeit a $750,000 signing bonus as part of the one-year, $5 million deal he signed in March.
Lawrence and the Cowboys had held out hope that the defensive end’s suspension would be reduced.
Lawrence will be eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, Oct. 3, after the team’s Oct. 2 game against the San Francisco 49ers. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
The Cowboys will open the season without three potential starters in McClain, Lawrence and defensive end Randy Gregory, who has been suspended for the first four games for a substance-abuse violation.
Anthony Hitchens will probably go into training camp as the Cowboys’ starter at middle linebacker.
3 Defensive starters will be missing because of suspension: linebacker Rolando McClain, and ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.