In the span of six months, Robert McClain went from being a starting cornerback in Super Bowl 50 to fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster for the Carolina Panthers.
McClain got some work with the first-team defense Sunday at Wofford College during training camp. But he’s still working to secure a spot on a team that used him in a key role in the postseason.
“It’s part of the job. I still have a lot of ways that I can prove myself,” McClain said. “Last year doesn’t matter. I don’t use any of my former years or statistics to base on what I’m doing now.
“Everything is a clean slate for everybody, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s not about what you did last year but what you’re doing now.”
Everything is a clean slate for everybody, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s not about what you did last year but what you’re doing now.
CB Robert McClain on the realities of Carolina Panthers training camp
Originally drafted by Carolina in 2010, McClain spent a season in Jacksonville and three more in Atlanta before the Panthers came calling late in the 2015 season. The Panthers brought in McClain after Bené Benwikere broke his ankle, and they needed him even more when Charles Tillman tore his ACL a week later.
McClain had three passes defensed in the postseason and no interceptions as a starter in the three playoff games.
So far in camp, the first-team repetitions at cornerback have gone to rookies James Bradberry and Daryl Worley. But McClain got some of those reps Sunday, and Ron Rivera liked what he saw.
“Very steady,” Rivera said of McClain’s play. “When you talk about being consistent, you have a guy you know is going to be where he needs to be and do the things he needs to do, it helps you. And that’s a guy who’s going to help us.”