Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain tests positive for ‘purple drank,’ source says

OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has yet to report to training camp, and there are real questions as to whether he will play in the NFL again.

Dallas Cowboys

Sources confirmed that McClain’s recent 10-game suspension is not for a failed marijuana test but for an opiate commonly referred to as “purple drank” — a combination of Sprite, cough syrup and codeine. Other sources said the suspension was not marijuana related.

“Even we don’t know all the details,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said when asked about McClain as he walked off the field after Tuesday’s walkthrough. “We just don’t know.”

When asked whether McClain’s career is over, coach Jason Garrett said, “We’re focused on the guys who are here.”

McClain and Randy Gregory, who sources said is facing a potentially longer suspension for another violation of the substance abuse policy, were placed on the reserve/did not report list at the start of training camp. Per the collective bargaining agreement, the players are subject to fines of $40,000 each day they are absent.

The Cowboys knew of Gregory’s absence before camp as he checked into a treatment facility, according to sources. McClain was expected on the team’s flight to California last week and did not show.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said last week there are “nuances” involving McClain’s situation but would not elaborate. If the Cowboys release McClain, he would count $750,000 against the salary cap. Because the suspension does not start until the season starts, he technically has not violated his contract.

Whether McClain wants to continue to play football is unknown. He has retired twice in his career before joining the Cowboys in 2014. He participated in the early part of the team’s offseason program but did not last long.

He did not show up for organized team activities earlier this offseason. He reported to the mandatory minicamp in June but did not practice because he was not in condition. According to sources, he was overweight at the start of the offseason conditioning program and he had not lost weight when he arrived for minicamp.

McClain, who missed the first four games last season because of a suspension, is in Stage 3 of the substance abuse program. According to the policy, a player is subject to a suspension of one year if he does not enter a treatment facility at the medical director’s request. It’s not clear whether that request has been made of McClain, and efforts to reach McClain’s agent, Pat Dye, have been unsuccessful.

Mon. Practice Recap: Zeke Takes His First NFL Hits; Rookies Impress

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs after a catch during an NFL training camp Sunday, July 31, 2016 at City of Oxnard Fields in Oxnard, California. (James D Smith via AP)

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs after a catch during an NFL training camp Sunday, July 31, 2016 at City of Oxnard Fields in Oxnard, California. (James D Smith via AP)

OXNARD, Calif. – After months of hearing about Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ defenders got a chance to hit him on Monday – and they did.
Monday marked the first padded practice of Elliott’s NFL career, and it became apparent early on that things would be physical. The rookie running back took several carries during the full-team portion of the afternoon practice, and he got popped on virtually every one.
Sean Lee met him in the hole on his first carry of the afternoon. Moments later, Kyle Wilber lowered his shoulder and put Elliott on the ground.
Barry Church perhaps drew the biggest reaction when he flipped Elliott into the air on a tackle in the hole.
“I got a little pop on him,” Church said. “I saw him in the hole, I saw him kind of lower his shoulder, so I took the challenge on there.”
From the outsider’s perspective, it was easy to think that the Dallas defense was sending a message to their vaunted new running back: welcome to the NFL, rook. Church said that wasn’t the case – just the results of a competitive practice.
“You’re reading a little bit too much into that,” he said. “We were just playing the game. He came up to the hole a couple times and we just gave him a little pop.”
Elliott is undoubtedly due for more pops – both during training camp and in the long NFL season to come. True to his head coach’s mantra, Church said going against Elliott can only help the defense improve ahead of the approaching season.
“He’s a hefty guy, so we’re going to go against hefty backs like that all throughout the season,” he said. “It’s a great warmup for us just going against a guy like that. He’s dynamic and he’s going to help our team and help our defense improve.”
Quick Hits
Byron Jones has gained notoriety in the last year for his practice battles against Jason Witten. With Jones moving to free safety, it’s Church who has drawn that duty so far in camp. Church and Witten gave fans a good laugh on Monday when Witten barked at Church for holding – a claim which the safety vehemently denied. “Man, this dude – they all talk about the hold, but they don’t see the extended arm push off,” Church said. “I got a little pro tug on him – a little tug. He’s going to complain about that all day, every day, but it just makes me better.”

It’s expected that Alfred Morris would get overshadowed by Elliott’s selection at No. 4 overall in the draft, but the veteran running back did his best to re-insert himself into the conversation on Monday. Morris ran exclusively with the second-team offense, but he burst into the second level on every carry he took.

The vast majority of the Cowboys’ roster is healthy enough to practice, but they did limit several of their injury concerns. DeMarcus Lawrence, Orlando Scandrick and Gavin Escobar all suited up and went through portions of the afternoon, but they were held out of full-team reps.

After Darius Eubanks’ departure from camp on Sunday, the Cowboys will hold several more workouts on Tuesday morning. Linebackers Emmanuel Acho, James Morris and Quayshawn Nealy will work out in hopes of filling the open roster spot.

Morris Claiborne is getting a look at kick returner alongside Lucky Whitehead, as was written about earlier Monday. The Cowboys also worked on punt returns on Monday afternoon, and it was rookie receiver Ed Eagan – not Cole Beasley – who split the reps with Whitehead.

Notable Standouts
Darius Jackson – The rookie running back generated some buzz when he was drafted in the sixth round in May, and he showed why in his debut practice. Running with the third team offense, Jackson showed some impressive speed and elusiveness, stopping and starting on a dime and reversing field several times to pick up extra yardage.
Charles Tapper – The rookie defensive end had a strong first day with the pads on, not only showing that speed, but some power, too. Tapper had three nice bull-rushes in the 1-on-1 drills but more than held his own against starters Doug Free and Tyron Smith, beating the veterans off the edge a couple of times.
Andy Jones – Every year it seems like an undrafted receiver has a solid camp and Jones could be the early favorite this season. The rookie from Jacksonville State had three nice catches in the 1-on-1 drills, including a leaping grab on a deep ball where he jumped over Dax Swanson to make the catch before hitting the ground.
Play Of The Day
It wasn’t the most amazing play we’ll see during this training camp, but why not give Anthony Brown some recognition? The coaching staff threw the rookie onto the field for full-team reps with the first-team defense – likely because Orlando Scandrick sat out the period. Working in the slot, Brown was in the right place at the right time when Tony Romo and Cole Beasley miscommunicated on a short curl. The ball went wide on Beasley and wound up right in Brown’s arms, where he fell to the ground to make sure he held on for the interception. Not bad for a sixth-round pick during his first day of practice.

Unofficial Injury Report
Missed Practice:
DT Tyrone Crawford (back)
DT Maliek Collins (foot)
DE Benson Mayowa (knee)
RB Darren McFadden (elbow)
RB Lance Dunbar (knee)
LB Jaylon Smith (knee)
LB Damien Wilson (eye)
TE James Hanna (knee)


Article source: dallascowboys.com