Quietly, with little fanfare,Baltimore RavenslinebackerJameel McClain(notes) will be doing his part for the NFL’s top-ranked defense in a home game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. And as much as I love chronicling the movements of the stars – like the guy who plays next to McClain, Ray Lewis(notes), who happens to be the best defensive player of his era – sometimes selfless players such as this third-year, undrafted free agent are the lifeblood of the sport.
Like Ravens teammate Michael Oher(notes), McClain took an unlikely path to the pros which required passion, perseverance and the overcoming of obstacles. In Hollywood pitch-meeting terms, think “The Blind Side” meets “The Pursuit of Happyness,” with a touch of the “Rocky” movies (which McClain ritualistically watches to get pumped up before games).
“My life has been one boxing match after another,” McClain says. “No matter what gets thrown at me, I keep fighting.”