Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

LB addicted to opiates

OXNARD, Calif. — The door remains open for linebacker Rolando McClain's return to the Cowboys despite failed drug tests for opiates, but club officials don't appear to be optimistic he'll walk through it.

McClain hasn't reported to training camp and is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Discussions about why the Cowboys have not cut the troubled player paint a complex picture.

McClain failed his most recent drug tests because he tested positive for opiates, not marijuana as has plagued him in the past. McClain is dealing with an addiction to codeine — an opiate — through the use of "purple drank," slang for a concoction that includes a prescription-strength cough syrup often mixed with Sprite.

McClain's impact on the salary cap remains unchanged until his 10-game suspension is completed, meaning there is no reason for the club to force the issue at this time.

But much more than salary cap ramifications cloud McClain's future. The Cowboys' starting middle linebacker is in Stage 3 — the final stage — of the NFL's substance abuse policy. If he has been told to enter a treatment facility and doesn't comply, he faces a minimum one-year ban from the NFL.

If that ban is imposed, the door would almost assuredly close on McClain's future in Dallas.

The league administers the substance abuse program, so it remains unclear if the NFL's medical director has required McClain to enter a facility as part of his treatment program.

According to the league's policy, "a player who fails to cooperate with testing, treatment, evaluation or other requirements imposed on him by this policy or fails to comply with his treatment plan, both as determined by the medical director; or who has a positive test result, will be banished from the NFL for a minimum period of one calendar year."

Unlike with defensive end Randy Gregory, who is also in Stage 3 of the substance abuse program, McClain has yet to enter a treatment facility to address his drug issues.

"Even we don't know all the details," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday. "We just don't know."

BENGALS: Tight end Tyler Kroft hyperextended his left knee during practice. Kroft was projected to start while Tyler Eifert recovers from left ankle surgery. … H-back Ryan Hewitt, who has become one of the team's best blockers in his two seasons in the NFL, agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2019 season.

CARDINALS: All-Pro defensive back Tyrann Mathieu agreed to a five-year, $62.5 million contract extension, with $40 million guaranteed. The contract comes despite major injuries to each knee in two of his first three seasons.

CHARGERS: Veteran receiver James Jones agreed to a contract. Jones, 32, spent eight of his first nine NFL seasons with the Packers.

FALCONS: Seven-time All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney agreed to terms. Freeney, 36, had eight sacks with the Cardinals last season. He joins a team that had an NFL-low 19.

JETS: Wide receiver Brandon Marshall punted a ball over the bleachers in frustration at the end of what coach Todd Bowles called a "sluggish" practice. Marshall joked that he "almost got sued" because of the short punt. … Left guard James Carpenter was activated from the active/physically unable to perform list after he missed four days of camp with a hamstring injury.

RAVENS: Injury-plagued running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, was released.

STEELERS: Cornerback Senquez Golson may miss extended time with a severe foot injury.

Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Updated: 7 hours ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 9 hours ago