McClain: I Just Wanted to Kill Somebody


Former Alabama LB Rolando McClain’s quest to get his life in order after a series of off-the-field issues derailed his NFL career has been far from an easy one.

In a recent ESPN the Magazine piece by Seth Wickersham, McClain said that his decision to retire from the NFL at age 24 and return to Alabama to earn his college degree was born out of a desire to no longer self-destruct like too many young NFL players had before him.

“I was feeling like Aaron Hernandez or something,” he told Wickersham about his mental state earlier this year. “Like I just wanted to kill somebody.”

McClain traced that to his rough upbringing in Decatur, AL, where he was surrounded by drugs, guns and violence and raised by a single mom with whom he frequently fought. Football, said McClain, was what allowed him to get away with living with all of that.

“Football was my mask,” he told Wickersham. “It was the cover-up. You got problems - go break something, work it out that way. I never really dealt with the problem.”

Based on the candor with which he spoke to Wickersham and his decision to give up football (for now) so he could “get better with the Lord, be the best father [he] can be” and “finish [his] degree,” hopefully he’s finally dealing with it now. Rolando McClain profile


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