Rolando McClain has earned a 10-game suspension for repeated violations of the NFL drug policy. He did not participate in the team's voluntary activities and showed up to the mandatory minicamp overweight. He has no-showed training camp and there is no indication that he wants to play football anymore.
So, why is he still a Dallas Cowboy?
This is the question that many fans are asking about McClain's status. For years, Jason Garrett has promoted a locker room mantra about having "the right kind of guys." He is annoyingly repetitious about the importance of players wanting to be here and giving their best.
Rolando McClain spits in the face of everything Garrett preaches.
Dallas knew that McClain was a risk. He has played each of the last two seasons on one-year contracts and was signed to another last March. The Cowboys weren't going to make any long-term investment in a player with clear character and motivational issues.
So, given that McClain has gone off the deep end, why are the Cowboys waiting to cut him loose? What's to gain?
Jerry Jones gave a rambling, barely coherent answer last week. He mentioned "cap considerations" and didn't go into much detail. Really?
For 2016, McClain was given a $750k signing bonus. The rest of his compensation is in non-guaranteed salary and incentives. Now, if McClain is still on the roster during the suspension, Dallas can recoup some of that bonus money.
If you think it's odd that the Cowboys would be miserly about that money, you're not alone. Just a year ago, Dallas gave free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley $2 million in guaranteed money and then cut him before Week One. This was a guy who simply got beat out by younger prospects. He didn't undermine the head coach's core philosophy.
Clearly, Dallas doesn't need one dollar back from McClain's signing bonus. So, what's the real issue?
Sadly, it may be the hope of getting something out of him later this season. Knowing that McClain won't be available until November anyway, Dallas could be swallowing all of this now so that McClain can eventually re-join the team and perhaps help them make a playoff run.
The tragedy of Rolando McClain is just how incredibly talented he is. Even as a guy who doesn't love football, McClain can be a difference maker just on his natural gifts. He's done it the last two years, when healthy, for the Cowboys.
Can McClain get himself into playing shape and contribute by Week 11? Sure, and that could be what the Cowboys are hoping for.
However, this isn't a time when Dallas can afford to make deals with devils. The character and culture of the team has been brought into question among fans and even mainstream media, beginning with the Greg Hardy fiasco and escalating this year with the suspensions of McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory.
Less than 10% of the roster shouldn't define it's character, but that's not how modern media works. Small samples and vocal minorities are now more than enough to convict, be it in politics, social issues, or sports analysis.
But we don't even have to get that grandiose about it. We can bring it down to the single Cowboys fan who's listening to the next Jason Garrett press conference. The head coach starts praising some player for being "the right kind of guy" and the "type of person" that the organization is looking for.
The fan rolls his eyes. He thinks of Rolando McClain.
That is what the Cowboys and Garrett are up against right now. If the mantra is losing traction with fans, is it unreasonable to assume that the same won't happen in the locker room? If some players get multiple chances for selfish behavior and poor conduct then why should others stay on the straight and narrow?
Is it really worth less than $750k to tell your team that Garrett's mantra is bullshit?
I have no doubt that Rolando McClain has personal problems. However, he's not in treatment like Randy Gregory or seemingly taking any steps to address them. He's also a 27-year-old man who's had more than enough forgiveness and excuses made for him.
It's time to stop letting this self-absorbed, unmotivated waste of talent represent the Dallas Cowboys. I don't care what he might do for you later this season. What's he doing now is destructive to the team's image, the coach's credibility, and potentially the young players in the locker room.
It's time to put Jones' money where Garrett's mouth is.
BREAKING: David Irving Suspended For 2nd Consecutive Year
For the second consecutive year, Defensive Lineman David Irving is being suspended for four games by the NFL. This time, the suspension comes after Irving violated the NFL's policy on substance of abuses, as Ian Rapoport reported.
Cowboys DL David Irving is being suspended 4 games for violating @NFL policy on substance of abuses, sources say. Another big-time D-linemen hit with a suspension for Dallas.
Irving will play for the Dallas Cowboys after the team placed a second-round tender on him earlier in the year. Why no team was interested in picking such a talented defensive tackle for a second round pick is becoming clearer and clearer as the time goes on.
In April, when David Irving got hacked by his former girlfriend one of the tweets that stood out the most was one which said "Wait until you all find about his failed drug tests." Now, we're seeing what the tweet was about.
Irving is a very talented player that could have a great career ahead of him. Of course, with this being the second consecutive year in which he receives a suspension to start the season, one could question how much he wants it.
The Cowboys will play the Panthers, Giants, Seahawks and Lions to start the season. They'll have to do it with one of their most promising defensive players in David Irving.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll keep you updated with this story and every Dallas Cowboys news.
Jason Witten’s Lasting Message to Cowboys TE Rico Gathers
When Dallas Cowboys legend Jason Witten retired from the NFL last month, he left behind an unproven group of tight ends for the Cowboys to field as Witten moves on to the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. This is not a TE group short of potential, although that's nothing new for the laundry list of players that have failed at the position behind the Hall of Fame bound Witten.
Headlining this group of potential heirs to Witten has to be 2016 draft pick Rico Gathers. Not yet given the same opportunities that Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin are receiving through the Cowboys ongoing mini camp, Gathers has been criticized for his commitment to his team.
Looking to make the transition from the basketball court at Baylor to the football field, Gathers' journey began at Witten's soon-to-be home forever. Playing his first organized football game since middle school, Gathers and Witten were teammates in the Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio in 2017.
A game rarely leaving fans with a lasting memories, Gathers immediately flashed potential in the passing game, hauling in three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Gathers would go on to spend the season on IR after a concussion suffered in practice, recovering from it in time to return but never seeing the field.
This leaves Gathers' prospects of putting it all together in year three at a difficult crossroads. It will be hard to question Gathers' commitment moving forward, as the message from his former teammate Jason Witten still lives with him.
If Witten truly sees a "bright future" for Rico Gathers, who Head Coach Jason Garrett says needs work in the running game, there is no reason the Cowboys can't find a role for him this season. With an entirely unproven group of wide receivers, Gathers could be the reliable mismatch for Dak Prescott to target in the middle of the field.
Prescott was the ninth worst quarterback in the league last season in red zone completion percentage, surely something the 6'6" TE Gathers could help improve.
Gathers may be a long way off from becoming Prescott's version of Witten to Tony Romo, but there is still hope for the 2016 draft pick, according to now football analyst Jason Witten.
David Irving to be Present at Dallas Cowboys Minicamp
David Irving has been a notable name throughout the offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, for both on the field and off the field headlines. First, his RFA tender had fans and analysts wondering just what the Cowboys would do with him. Many, myself included, thought placing anything lower than a first-round tender on the stud defensive tackle would mean he was collecting sacks for someone else in 2018.
Thankfully, the Dallas Cowboys' gamble paid off and they were able to save some money by only having the second-round tender applied to 2018.
Then came the accusation of domestic violence from his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, catching us off-guard just before OTAs began in May. Which was then retracted not long after the initial report.
After all of that had quieted down, most of the talk revolved around David Irving not being in shape for OTAs. Not having been around for much of the offseason work the last several weeks before OTAs would keep Irving from working out.
He's had a lot going on in his life lately away from the game of football, and understandably so. As a father to a young child, I can see how you'd get distracted from your job when family stuff comes into play that affects the well-being of your child.
On the football side of things, at least, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Today, it's being reported that David Irving will in fact be present for this week's mandatory minicamp.
Also, the Cowboys expect DL David Irving to participate in the 3-day mandatory minicamp that begins today at The Star, a source said. The Cowboys could have both Irving and RG Zack Martin back on the practice field if Martin's contract extension gets finalized this morning.
You may be asking yourself, "what's the big deal? Irving isn't Aaron Donald."
Well, you're mostly right.
Perhaps next to Donald, David Irving was the most disruptive interior player in the NFL last season. David Irving had seven sacks in the eight games he played in.
Read that again. Seven sacks in eight games. That would be 14 sacks over the course of the season if that pace were to continue to play out.
Aaron Donald had 11 sacks in 2017.
Pro Football Focus rated David Irving as its third best pass rusher among interior defensive linemen.
Dominant interior defenders.
To go along with Irving's seven sacks in eight games -- every time I read that I'm floored -- he recorded six passes defended. That was good for second in the NFL at the defensive tackle position and was second on the Dallas Cowboys.
Again, in only eight games played.
Even if you were to pace out his tackle numbers over 16 games, they aren't very spectacular -- 26 solo and 18 assisted -- but he'd still finish in the top 30 among defensive tackles.
Only two other players in the NFL had seven or more sacks and six or more pass breakups; New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan and Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Carlos Dunlap. Both of those guys played in all 16 games and, while I hate to keep bringing this up, Irving only played in eight.
He's an elite interior defender who has only gotten better since joining Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys.
If he's able to get his personal life in order -- and that most assuredly comes first -- he's going to be a wrecking ball for the Dallas Cowboys defensive line.
Getting Zack Martin's contract extension completed was probably the most important task of the summer, but getting David Irving back into the practice fold is a close second.
With him and DeMarcus Lawrence coming off a tremendous 2017, the sky is the limit for those two in 2018.
With all the improvement that was made on the defensive side of the ball, I can't help but think of the sign that Greg Hardy paid for several years ago.
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