Rolando McClain, Madison’s newest resident, opens up about his life and his focus to make things right
Rolando McClain, former Alabama All-American and currently playing for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, recently moved to Madison with his family. McClain has been in the public limelight for more than just his football talents. He has had several incidents with police and the courts. He agreed to this EXCLUSIVE one-on-one interview and spoke of his life, past-present-and future, with an attempt to make things right in his life and introduce what McClain called, “The real me”, to the Madison community. At press time, McLain was still on the Raiders’ roster, but he was expected to be release from his contract and begin his search for a new team to start his fourth season in the NFL.
Rolando McClain has basically been on his own since the age of 15 and admitted, “As a kid and young adult you make mistakes and I have made some. I have tried to do good, but sometimes the devil wins.”
The 23-year old McClain, who played for the 2009 BCS National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide and for the last three years for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, feels as though he’s made a big change in his life, to turn around his personal life and football career for the better. He recently purchased a $1-million home that sits on 1.65 acres just off Hughes Rd. in Madison.
He lives in his home with his wife, Capri Knox, and their two sons, both of whom are younger than two years of age. They purchased the home in January after Capri scoured the Madison area for a home while McClain was busy playing in his third season in the NFL.
While most see McClain as a professional athlete and someone who has had brushes with the police the last two years, McClain has been determined to make his life better for he and his family in the Madison community.
“It’s not about me anymore as now I have two sons and a wonderful wife and we want to take it slow and make our way into the community in a positive way. I’m a home body. I like to fish and we go out on the boat and enjoy relaxing as a family as often as we can,” said McClain.
A Parade All-American at Decatur High School, McClain signed with the University of Alabama and quickly became an all-star performer at linebacker. Playing under Coach Nick Saban from 2007-2009, McClain won both Lambert and Butkus Awards as the nation’s best linebacker. He chose to leave school early and was a first-round NFL Draft choice by the Raiders. He has played three seasons with the Black and Silver, but recent unravelings have caused McClain to be possibly released from his contract.
“I hope to move on from the Raiders as it will be best for my career,” said McClain, who has been said to be less of a player, especially on pass coverage, than what the Raiders had hoped for. McClain added, “There’s no question some other NFL team will get a good linebacker. I’m hungry to play.”
To help keep in tip-top physical shape during the off season, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound McClain goes through daily workouts under the supervision of athletic trainer Christy Harris. He also participates in Pilates classes. “Yeah, I want more flexibility, so I do the Pilates workouts. It’s tough,” said McClain. “I also do some typical football drills with some of my best friends.”
As the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, McClain signed with the Raiders for an estimated $40-million over five years. With some of his signing bonus, he purchased his Madison home without having to obtain a mortgage. He knows should his career end sooner than he had planned; it would be a financial advantage not to have a mortgage hanging over his head.
McClain admits he’s beginning to think as an adult.
“When you come into some money, some people think you owe them and they want some of your money, but I tried to always stay true to who I am,” said McClain. “My wife has completely changed me. She’s made me mellow, softer.”
McClain’s troubles with the law have been in his hometown of Decatur. Some incidents have occurred around his friends and his former neighborhoods that presented him with rough surroundings during his childhood. He knows the incidents could have been prevented. He wishes those incidents had never happened.
“I am who I am. I’ll have to change my surroundings,” admitted McClain, who grew up with the nickname of “Boo”. “I love my friends and my city and I won’t turn my back on them. I just need to make better decisions in my life. I won’t be making as many visits to Decatur.”
McClain and Knox first dated about six years ago when both attended Alabama. Knox, 23, was a triple-jumper and long jumper for the Tide’s track team. They were married three months ago.
McClain has 36 hours remaining to earn his degree in business management and he has plans to complete his education.
As an All-American player and team captain at Alabama, McClain remains a huge fan of the Tide’s program and its leader, Saban.
“That guy wants to win and expects only the best from his players,” said McClain of his former coach. “Coach Saban is very intense in practices and games, but outside the realms of football he’s a regular guy. They (Alabama) should remain on the same level they’ve been on since I was there. As long as Saban is coach, they’ll have a chance to win.”
McClain hopes his new home and family life is exactly what he needs to make positive changes in his life. He and Knox read the bible daily. They are currently looking for a new church to attend. When he is not working out for his talents as a football player, McClain is busy taking care of his two sons and now puts off other distractions. He’s really settling in on the duties of fatherhood.
Whatever McClain decides, let’s hope he fulfills his talents in the NFL, clears his name in the eyes of the public, matures and makes sure his devil never wins again.