The linebacker remained in Alabama for what Jason Garrett called family reasons, however, the coach expressed disappointment McClain was not at Valley Ranch. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones added context to McClain’s absence when appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Wednesday.
"It's fair to everybody to understand that Rolando's boys, his family lives in Alabama and he doesn't live with them. His former significant other is where they are. His offseason is spent with those boys and that's an understanding we have when he came through the door," Jones said. "He has to be there to spend time with them, and we expect him to compensate for that.”
Jones said McClain has earned some “slack” with his on-field play the last two seasons.
“If you look at how his impact when he's there with us on the field, what he can do for our team,” Jones said. “If you look at his background in the NFL, how he's evolved, I'm glad he's a Cowboy.”
Other players, however, have children who live out of state yet have had perfect attendance.
Garrett said he spoke with McClain within the last week. He said he is not sure whether McClain would be on hand for next week’s mandatory minicamp. If McClain skipped the camp, then he would be subject to a fine.
Even if he reports to practice, it is possible Garrett chooses not to practice McClain. The same is true for guard Ronald Leary, who also missed the OTAs as he looks for a trade.
“We’ll determine what our plan is when they get here,” Garrett said.
Garrett’s focus is on the players who have been at the voluntary offseason program, not those who haven't. McClain’s absence, however, has taxed the linebackers because of absences of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith due to injuries.
“I know that our guys have done a fantastic job of coming in here and going to work,” Garrett said. “I think everyone understands this is a voluntary period of the year and our team is choosing to be here. Certain guys have certain situations that they’re dealing with, and it’s not something that our players are focused on. They’re focused on what they can do to help our team get better. We’re fortunate to have the group that we have.”