INDIANAPOLIS -- As he prepares to enter free agency, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain is facing a four-game fine for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, according to multiple sources.
The fine could affect the type of contract McClain receives even if it will not keep him off the field to start the 2015 season. The sources said McClain is appealing the fine. According to the league's new substance abuse policy, a player is fined for a third failed test. Another failed test would be a four-game suspension.
The Cowboys have had discussions with McClain's agent, Pat Dye, on a new contract and are scheduled to meet this week at the NFL scouting combine. Dye declined comment on whether his client was fined.
The Cowboys acquired McClain in a trade from the Baltimore Ravens last July and saw him start 12 games and finish second on the team with 81 tackles.
He missed three games with injuries and did not play in a fourth but was active.
The Cowboys will give up their sixth rounder to the Ravens to complete the trade, but they will receive Baltimore's seventh rounder in return.
McClain was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft by the Oakland Raiders. In 41 games with the Raiders he made 246 tackles and had 6.5 sacks, but he walked away from the game after the 2013 season and retired again after he signed with the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason.
When the Cowboys lost Sean Lee last spring to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Cowboys were able to coax McClain out of retirement. Jason Garrett's background with Alabama coach Nick Saban helped in getting McClain to return.
McClain was the most impactful Cowboys defender for most of the season. He suffered concussions in the Cowboys' playoff games against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Late in the 2014 season his Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home burned to the ground and this week it was determined by investigators to be the result of arson.
"We follow anything on our players if it is related to them, but I have no reason to believe anything was up there other than something happened to his house that wasn't an accident, according to authorities," executive vice president Stephen Jones said earlier in the week.