A map of places where Rolondo McClain shouldn't be allowed to live...or go
A map of places where Rolondo McClain shouldn’t be allowed to live…or go
With news of Sunday’s arrest of former Alabama and current Baltimore Raven’s linebacker Rolondo McClain, the former All-American and Butkus and Lambert award winner faces an uncertain future.

McCLain was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest over an incident that allegedly took place in a Decatur, Alabama area sports park. According to sources, the fight broke out following someone spitting on McClain’s car, although details on whether or not McClain was involved in the fight are uncertain.

What is certain is that McClain was uncooperative with police who were called to manage the disturbance. Rolondo was released from jail after posting the $1,000 bond.

McClain was drafted in the 2010 NFL draft, selected as the 8th overall pick in the first round by Oakland. After three years with the organization, 244 tackles and 6.5 sacks, Ro was released in April of this year, and picked up five days later by the Baltimore Ravens. McClain signed a one-year deal with the Ravens on April 10th.

Mclain was arrested just two years ago, again when he came home to attend a family funeral. He was convicted of four misdemeanors (reckless endangerment, menacing, third-degree assault and firing a gun in the city limits) but he appealed. The charges were eventually dropped when the accuser told prosecutors he no longer wanted to pursue the case.

Rolondo McClain following his November 2011 arrest…a picture so surreal it looks like it belongs on “The Onion”

But as the late Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story.

McClain, now 23, has been virtually on his own since the age of 15. Growing up in the projects of Decatur, McClain received a restraining order against his mother for beating him and threatening him with a knife. She later would be diagnosed as bi-polar. McClain would then spurn an estranged father to live with several families in order to stay eligible for football in Decatur, and of course would later be recruited and signed by Alabama.

But according to a source who knew and worked with him while in high school, this is a guy who had slim to no chance of overcoming his troubled past.

McClain’s story isn’t unique to Rolondo McClain. I don’t pity him, as the 23 year old has already received…and earned…more opportunity than most ever will in their lives. He has been placed in a realm where he could and should have known better than to do the things that have gotten him in trouble.

But this is a man who apparently just can’t escape it. As one of my favorite Proverbs says: “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)

When you take family structure away from a kid growing up, regardless of how successful or talented he is, the odds of him overcoming his poor upbringing aren’t good. The odds are much greater of him repeating what he knows, not overcoming it and moving on.

At 23, Rolondo is still just a kid by many rights…though not according to the legal system. I remember when I was 23, and am thankful I escaped my own stupidity until my frontal lobe was finally fully developed.

Research tells us that the human brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, or the “frontal lobe,” isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. Here’s a list of what that part of the brain does:

• Focuses attention
• Organizes thoughts and problem solving
• Foresees and weighs possible consequences of behavior
• Considers the future and makes predictions
• Forms strategies and planning
• Balances short-term rewards with long term goals
• Shifts/adjusts behavior when situations change
• Controls impulses and delays gratification
• Modulates of intense emotions
• Inhibits inappropriate behavior and initiates appropriate behavior
• Simultaneously considers multiple streams of information when faced with complex and challenging information

This is why teenagers do stupid things…almost single-handedly keeping YouTube and Girls Gone Wild in business.

But does any of that list sound like issues Rolondo McClain is in dire need of help with? I remember in human development classes at Alabama learning that our personalities as humans really aren’t solidified until the age of 26. The development of this part of the brain is a major reason as to why.

People with an underdeveloped frontal lobe think it’s a good idea to fire weapons in public. They like their odds of resisting a police officer who’s ordering you to stop walking away. They forget that said police officer has a radio who can summon a bijillion other police officers, severely hampering your day…and an NFL career.

Who knows what will become of Rolondo McClain. The former Bama great isn’t the first NFL player to find himself on the wrong side of the law. Another Baltimore Ravens linebacker just ended an extremely successful career with some shady legal issues in his review mirror. And afterall, McClain is still innocent until proven guilty.

But one thing is for certain: Rolondo McClain should probably leave Decatur and never return again. At least until he’s 26. Or much older.

(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

11 thoughts on “Rolondo McClain: A man in need of a fully developed prefrontal cortex”

    1. You say he is an idiot, well I say he’s that and then some, he’s just like a lot of people I see everyday, rude, dirty, and digusting! and that’s putting it mildly, I said it once before, just because he graduated from Alabama, or any other school for that matter, does not make him a model citizen. I see the public up close everyday and l can attest that its not pretty. I will say that a part of it is the entitlement concept, but that’s another story…… RTR

  1. Great post… love the research!!
    Rolando McClain does something like no one else can, and he does it with consistancy…
    Gets into trouble!!
    The type of arrests he has tells me that he just can’t seem to keep his pie hole shut!!!
    When Ray Lewis found himself on the wrong side of the law, Baltimore believed in him and he proved them right by changing the way he lived
    Rolando McClain on the other hand, though he hasn’t been involved with anything quite that bad, he has consistantly shown a lack of sound judgement and an innability to abide by basic laws… in essence, he CHOOSES to make the wrong choices and refuses to clean up his act.
    He is an incredible player and was great when he played for Bama, but I can’t help but be just a little embarrassed every time the dude drives through Decatur!!!
    I say…
    He’s been in the NFL long enough that I’m perfectly okay with him being labled as ‘Former Raiders player’ as opposed to ‘former Bama player. 😉

  2. Everyone calls him an idiot, but I thought his intelligence was one of the pinnacle reasons for Alabama’s title shot against Texas, particularly in some of the bigger conference games of the season.

    I loved McClain. He was intense and a great defensive communicator on the field. I loved shouting his name like Sam Jackson in Die Hard 3. “MCCLAAAAAAAIN!”

    His teammates listened to him, so I always thought he had some good leadership qualities. Any time I saw him in person (especially at A-Days) he seemed happy, proud of his role at Alabama, and while he maybe wasn’t the most well-spoken guy on the team he certainly sounded like he had spent a few years being coached by Nick Saban and Kirby Smart. He represented Alabama’s culture, not just Alabama’s success.

    I don’t know if he had problems while he was in the program at Alabama. But I know I heard about the arrests once he reached the NFL. Say what you want about the Raiders and their culture, but Rolo made some huge mistakes off the field.

    I know I’m speculating, but it seemed like the mistakes always somehow related to a dramatic event. It’s like he couldn’t control his temper. He seemed to do a good job of it on the field and while at Alabama, so why not off the field as an adult?

    Father figure? Nick Saban? I think that makes a lot of sense. The NFL is all about money (and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but get arrested and it can compromise your image and ability to make money, not to mention the team), but college football, especially under Saban, is about respect. He seemed to have it. He was composed, stood tall, made a lot of great decisions on the field.

    It reminds me of when I hear about performers who “come alive” on stage. Maybe Rolo on the field is the best he can be.

    And off the field, all he wants is to be back on the field.

    Rolo has a temper. It’s probably in his blood. I love McClain. I hope he can fix his temper, and I think that may be all there is to it. Roll(o) Tide.

  3. Don’t worry about McClain’s prefrontal cortex. It’s obvious that he’s already been labotomized. I just wish he would go away and stop embarrassing Bama. He just gives the Barnturds ammunition. Now on to a subject much closed.to.home. Here we go again, still losing basketball players at the end of every season since Grant has been here. I don’t care what the official excuse is, I believe there is something rotten in Denmark when out best player up and.deserts us. What the fuck are we going to do next season now that Trevor Lacy is gone. Out new AD needs to do some serious.checking into what’s going on in the mens basketball program. At 2 million.a year it’s a pretty damn serious mistake. If this shit keeps up we will be starting a team like Kentucky with 5 rookies – except that instead of 5 #1 draft choices we have 5 who would have a hard time making the girls basketball team.

  4. I got both of my prefrontal lobes pierced when I was 12. I also got a nipple piercing a tongue stud and a tramp stamp of a Queen of Spades. I think its sad when people’s ears wont grow enough to pierce.

  5. Ro should stay the heck outta North Alabama. Seems like this is where is is always in trouble.Going home is always nice……but. RTR

  6. Having had some interaction with McClain between his sophomore and junior seasons, I found him fairly quiet and humble. He does seem to make a LOT of bad decisions when he’s not on the football field, and sometimes when he is. However, I find it a little odd – as a resident of north Alabama – that McClain only seems to get in trouble with the authorities when he’s in Decatur. No one wants to go there with the suspicion that maybe – just maybe – there’s a quiet little vendetta going on in Morgan county whenever he’s home. I know he ran with a rough crowd before he went to Bama, and maybe it’s a crowd that tends to attract the attention of law enforcement. I just find it a little odd that he doesn’t seem to get in much trouble anywhere else except Decatur.

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