Sports Interviews With Morgan Adsit: Jameel McClain, Ravens Linebacker
Once an undrafted rookie free agent out of Syracuse, now a Ravens starter, Jameel McClain hasn't missed a game during his four-year NFL career in Baltimore. McClain is coming off his personal-best season: 84 tackles, 50 solo, one sack, two fumbles recovered, one interception and five passes defended.
Just when McClain got comfortable in a starting role, he headed into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and his future in Baltimore is unknown.
Morgan Adsit: How have you processed [the end of the season]?
Jameel McClain: You can see the confusion on my face. I don't know how you process it. You just think of little pieces. You think of things that you could have done or things that the game could have changed, but it's all things that won't change. So now, you just think about how you will get better, how you are going to improve as a person.
MA: It's 60 minutes, but obviously when you think about it, it comes down to the final seconds and the big plays. Billy Cundiff … Lee Evans … have you picked those guys up?
JM: It's hard to be in their shoes and it's hard to think how they think. It's like I heard someone say before -- a team loses a game, no one individual. It can't just go on one person's shoulders, because there are so many other things that happened. … There's not really anything I can say because I'm not in their shoes, so I don't know how they exactly relate.
MA: Ray Lewis, afterward, told you guys a story of a kid that he was mentoring. [Did it really hit home that this is a game you're lucky enough to play in, but there are more things that matter?
JM: What I got from the story is what I felt when I went home. I felt like it is a game. It is disappointing, but the world is bigger than what we are doing right now. …
I got home and I was able to be around my girlfriend, and it just hit me. There are people that love you, and it's bigger than this moment and this sickening pain in your stomach. It's bigger than that.
MA: How difficult is it realizing that it is over, and just the packing up and saying goodbye? There are guys … you will probably never play with again.
JM: It's difficult, because you don't know where you are going to land. You don't know where they are going to land. There are people that you will probably never talk to again, and there are people that you have good relationships with and they'll be distant relationships. They won't be the same; it's not the same as when you have a roommate and you all are tight, but when they move to another place, you aren't as tight anymore. That's the reality of the game in itself. This, to me, is the hardest part, because I love these dudes. I put my heart into them, and I know they put their heart into me and their heart into what they do. So, it's just the hardest part.
MA: Are you thinking about your future yet or your future as a Raven?
JM: I want to be a Raven. I want to be here. So, I'm not thinking any more farther than this loss. That's all I can actually think about until I can wrap my mind around that. I can't wrap my mind about getting myself better and whatever my next situation is.
Watch Morgan Adsit on Sports Unlimited on Fox 45 Baltimore, at 5:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays and at 10 p.m. weekends. Follow Morgan on Twitter: @MorganAdsit.
Issue 170: February 2012