McClain has worked mostly with the second team in camp while even taking some third-team reps in the nickel defense. In the walk-through, he worked at the middle linebacker spot with Justin Durant at the weakside spot and Kyle Wilber at the strongside spot. Bruce Carter, who had been starting, worked with the second team but moved back to the top defense in situational work.
“It’s easy to see why he was a top 10 pick in the draft coming out of school,” coach Jason Garrett said of McClain.
McClain, who was acquired in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens last month, has not played in a game since November 2012 when he was with the Oakland Raiders. He retired twice after then but filed for reinstatement in the summer to set up the trade to the Cowboys.
“So far it’s been good, just learning everything on the fly, trying to figure out what I can and just play fast to the best I can,” McClain said. “It’s been good. The guys have been doing a great job setting examples how to work as far as what’s expected so I’m just trying to fall into that; do the best I can. It’s been a while since I played a game, but I’m just trying to do the best I can so ar. Just trying to make plays and see what happens from there.”
McClain said it takes time for his body to recover after practices from his time off from the game.
“I mean no matter how much training you do, running or lifting, it’s nothing like being in football shape,” McClain said.
Despite his good start, McClain is choosing a smaller picture to focus on, not a possible role when the regular season starts. He was unaware there was a Blue-White scrimmage on Saturday.
“I got a steep hill ahead of me and I’m just climbing,” McClain said. “Like Coach Garrett says, just keep fighting, fight with the rest of these guys. We still got a lot more training camp left, so I’m focused on that.”