Report: NFL suspends Rolando McClain for first 4 games of 2015

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The NFL has suspended Dallas Cowboys linebacker for the first four games of the upcoming 2015-16 season. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the suspension will be without pay, and is due McClain's violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

Rapaport also reports that McClain has apologized, and is motivated to come back strong in a monster Week 5 matchup against New England.

This suspension comes as the latest wave in what has been an odd professional career. McClain appeared to be a slam dunk while in college at Alabama. He racked up accolades, including the Butkus and SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards, and anchored a stifling defense (2nd nationally in both scoring and total defense) that carried the Crimson Tide to a national championship. As a result McClain was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

However, once hitting the league, McClain never seemed to gel. He butted heads with then-Oakland head coach Dennis Allen, and after three lackluster seasons he was cut by the team. McClain signed on with the Ravens in April 2013, but retired one month later at the age of 23.

After sitting out a year, he was picked up by the Cowboys last summer. McClain seemed to finally find his footing in Dallas, registering 81 combined tackles, 1 sack and 2 interceptions (a career high) in only 13 games, and appeared poised for the long-awaited breakout in 2016.

McClain's absence leaves Dallas likely relying on second-year linebacker Anthony Hitchens to take over in the middle. In his rookie year, Hitchens played in all 16 games and recorded 75 combined tackles, as well as one interception.

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