Former Syracuse Orange linebacker Jameel McClain hasn’t played a down in the NFL since 2014, but he’ll still be making an impact on the league.
McClain had a productive four-year career with SU, but he went undrafted in 2008. He still managed to make the Baltimore Ravens roster that offseason, then played six seasons there, before ending his career with the New York Giants in 2014.
In seven years as a pro, he played in 103 games, tallying 267 tackles and seven sacks, while also recovering four fumbles (including one for a touchdown) and recording an interception.
He’s not focused on any of that in his new role as assistant director of player personnel with the Ravens, however.
The Baltimore Sun had a lengthy profile on McClain and his new role today, which partly revolves around rookie assimilation into the NFL. Ravens’ director of player engagement Harry Swayne wanted McClain aboard because of how he handled himself as a pro -- both on the way into and out of the league. He told the Sun:
"He's handled (retirement) better than I did when I was done because he really did already have his mind wrapped around the football thing being over. Now it's on to the next thing, whatever that is. I think he's still discovering what it is, which is great because while he's discovering it, he's helping us. He's paying it forward really through the eyes of the next rookie class coming in."
McClain says he wants to help incoming rookies soak in the experience and enjoy these early days of camp, despite the pressures he’s all too familiar with.
Connecting with and helping people seems to be at the core of everything McClain’s doing these days. Along with the Ravens’ gig, he NEWfit kids, creating after school programs for kids in Baltimore. He and his wife, Keisha, also own a Retro Fitness gym not too far away, with plans for two more soon.
Again, read the piece over on the Baltimore Sun for the full story. It’s always great to see former Syracuse players out doing good things.