Former Raiders first round pick Rolando McClain up and retired a few months into his stint with the Baltimore Ravens, and it left many wondering why.
McClain sat down with Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine, and made a startling revelation when he admitted that he retired because he was headed down a horrible path.
McClain who stated that he “felt like a ticking time bomb” at times, told Wickersham that “he retired at 23 because he didn’t want to end up like Aaron Hernandez.”
McClain says he felt like “he was going to kill someone.”
“I was feeling like Aaron Hernandez or something,” he says, “like I just wanted to kill somebody.” He remembers watching Hernandez get hauled out of his house in handcuffs, later charged with first-degree murder, and being genuinely scared he’d end up the same way.
The fact that he could relate to one of football’s most notorious players speaks not only to how far gone he was but also to the newfound clarity with which he can now see his life. McClain was raised in a single-parent household in Decatur, surrounded by drugs, guns and violence. He describes a mother, Tonya Malone, who worked three jobs and constantly battled with him. At one point, McClain filed a restraining order against her after she allegedly threatened him with a knife. He says his father, Roland Ervin McClain Jr., was largely absent. At age 15, he ran away — couch-surfing, getting into fights and “being a little gangster.”
Most of McClain’s anger it seems derived from family and friends who were hell bent on manipulating and using him.
He says he spent almost $600,000 on friends and family in a sixth-month span, mostly on cars. Once word got out that McClain was hooking up his crew, more people called and texted, wanting in. Feeling under siege, he wrote checks so that people would leave him alone.
McClain flew to Decatur for his grandfather’s funeral, expecting a simple service. But he says that his family had signed up for a $20,000 funeral package, with five limos — and stuck him with the tab.
Kudos to McClain for understanding that he had some issues and stepping away to handle them.