Monday, November 08, 2010

Ravens' McClain is spitting, er spinning out of control

When he was at the University of Alabama, Le’Ron McClain had 37 carries for 170 yards – in his entire 4 year career as a member of The Crimson Tide. Not one game; not one season; FOUR seasons!!!

So to plot that out, in 36 collegiate career games McClain averaged 1 carry for nearly 5 yards. Clearly the Ravens didn’t think they were drafting Adrian Peterson in 2007 when they put the card in for McClain.

Fast forward to the 2008 season when McClain was called upon to be the Ravens’ workhorse. Willis McGahee was uncomfortably relegated to John Harbaugh’s doghouse and Ray Rice wasn’t exactly the picture of health that season in part stemming from an inhumane workload during the ’08 summer camp.

It was then that the Ravens may have created a bit of a monster.

Yes McClain was successful as a featured ball carrier. He rumbled and bumbled for 902yards on 232 carries including 10 for scores. He was a bruiser and together with fullback Lorenzo Neal, McClain spearheaded a punishing ground attack.

The carries led to name recognition and that in turn paved the way to a Pro Bowl nomination as the AFC fullback for the then second year player.

As so often is the case, once a player makes his way to Honolulu and just so happens to play of position that isn’t so high profile, another nomination follows.

Reputation counts!

But McClain didn’t get anywhere near the number of carries in ’09 that he racked up in ’08. In fact he carried the rock 186 fewer times. The two-time Pro Bowler wasn’t happy.

So heading into the 2010 summer camp, McClain began a self-promoting campaign for more carries and blasted it out on his Twitter account and he developed complimentary tee shirts: McClain4RB.

No one was impressed.

Why would offensive coordinator Cam Cameron feature McClain when he has Rice and McGahee in his ground attack arsenal? Besides, McClain doesn’t have the luxury of a lead blocker as he did in ’08 when Neal led interference for him. Many who campaign for the three-headed monster often forget that missing ingredient.

The Ravens want McClain to do what they drafted him to do – flatten linebackers for their tailback.

Apparently McClain wants something else.

Maybe he’s heard the whispers about his position becoming obsolete.

And speaking of whispers, a few have heard that McClain is an unwilling lead blocker for McGahee because he believes McGahee is getting the carries that he deserves.

Remember the Pro Bowls.

Remember the McClain4RB campaign.

Remember the costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Patriots.

Remember the alleged Twitter F Bomb barrage following that game directed towards fans who blamed him for the Patriots' loss.

Now this alleged spitting incident that McClain denies.

"Nah, I didn't spit on him. That's crazy. That's not my game. I'm Le'Ron McClain, man. Le'Ron McClain don't spit on another player. But I will block you. Four quarters. That's a fact."

Not many team oriented guys refer to themselves by name or in the third person. And coupled with this behavioral trend, McClain’s priorities in a team sport are a bit whack if you ask me.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and within McClain there appears to be a firestorm brewing.

Maybe he can hock one and put it out.


Scott said...

I'm neither condoning nor condemning what McClain did (it happened on the field and it will be handled on the field the next time these two teams meet). But, to play Devil's advocate, it is entirely possible that McClain made that head gesture while shouting "F You!," or "[insert derogatory homosexual term]!" (I'm not sure what your rules are about language, Tony). Crowder seems like the type of guy that would act goofy after something like that.

Also, for anyone that has seen the video from the Palm Beach Post that shows evidence of McClain spitting, there is something else that should be noted. You can clearly see Crowder grab and shove a referee out of the way so that he could go after McClain. The NFL has very, very clear rules about players making contact with the refs, and I feel it would be hypocritical of them to fine McClain based on that video and not fine Crowder as well.

The Palm Beach Post video is here:

Jerry B said...

All part of a "culture" that the league apparently condones, TL. Spitting may be reprehensible, but so is "trash talking", histrionics after making a play, ridiculous gyrations in the end zone following TD's, including the famous (infamous!), "Lambeau Leap" that is now imitated around the league. In former years, when the game was more "sport" that entertainment business, all those things would have constituted "taunting" and been cause for "Unsportsmanlike Penalties" or "delay of game penalties". Today, however, it's all part of! Frankly, I'd prefer to see the game revert to the great sport that the founders intended.....