A surprising turn of events at the Baltimore Ravens complex, where Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome announces to baltimoreravens.com that linebacker Rolando McClain is retiring from the league at the age of 23.
“Rolando let me know that he plans to retire from the NFL,” Newsome said. “We have placed him on the Reserve/Retired list.”
McClain signed a one-year contract with the Ravens on April 18 and got arrested 10 days later in Alabama. The Ravens were expected to give him a chance despite his off the field issues, but it looks like those issues are bigger for him than what the Ravens organization anticipated. The Ravens did not invest much into McClain so the loss of him should not impact the way the Ravens will do business on defense.
Where does this leave the Ravens? They drafted Arthur Brown in the second round last month, thinking he would be the guy to man the spot Ray Lewis coveted for 17 years. But the other vacant inside linebacker spot in the Ravens 3-4 defense is now up for grabs more than ever before. Josh Bynes saw some playing time last year with Dannell Ellerbe and Lewis out for injuries so he may bring some experience to the table. Jameel McClain is still recovering from back surgery, so expecting anything from him right out the gate at this point does not seem likely.
This latest turn at the inside linebacker position could bring veteran free agent Brian Urlacher into the equation, but such a signing would go against everything the Ravens have done this off-season in terms of the youth movement. Things just got interesting, so stay tuned.