Probably Derrick Thomas, Cornelius Bennett or Lee Roy Jordan. All three made
All-Americas with the Crimson Tide, and Thomas made nine Pro Bowls in the NFL. Bennett and Jordan made five each.
This shouldn’t be such a tough question. The answer should be Rolando McClain, who had more talent than Thomas, Bennett or Jordan. Instead, McClain apparently finished an ordinary NFL career Wednesday by “retiring” from pro football. His sum total is three unspectacular seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
McClain should’ve gone all Ray Lewis on the league only better than Ray
Lewis, who was too short (6-foot-1) and not necessarily all that fast but wound up making NFL All-Pro seven times.
McClain had physical gifts Lewis would’ve sawed off an arm to possess. He had size (6-foot-3 and 254 pounds), speed and intelligence. That last one helped him thrive as the play-calling linebacker in a complicated Nick Saban defense at Alabama.
He should’ve thrived in pro football, but he couldn’t keep from getting in his own way. Even the Raiders who typically love the renegade, difficult players finally said they had had enough of McClain’s unwillingness to work within their system. The rules were simple: Stop getting arrested and get along with your coaches. Not that complicated.
So, let’s ask another question who is the Alabama player who has wasted more talent than any other?
That’s easy McClain, hands down.
Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read "In My
Opinion" in every Anniston Star sports section, written by Star staff members.