Despite his long history of concussions, Shea McClellin isn’t ready to officially close the book on his NFL career.
The former New England Patriots linebacker, who was released in March after spending all of last season on injured reserve, recently told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss a return to the league remains a possibility for him.
“I’m still staying ready, still working out,” said McClellin, who recently took a job coaching linebackers at Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho. “I’ve learned to never say never. There’s always a chance that I could still play again, but for now, all my focus is on coaching high school.”
After what McClellin experienced in 2017, it’s hard to envision him ever playing again. Residual effects from a concussion — one of five documented concussions he’s suffered in his playing career — prevented the 28-year-old from playing in a single game for the Patriots.
McClellin briefly returned to practice in October but suffered a setback before he could make his season debut and was shelved for the season.
“It’s difficult whenever you get an injury that holds you out, when you kind of feel like you’re good and then find out you’re not. It’s always tough,” he told Reiss. “I think it was just over time, it wasn’t just one thing. I’ve had five documented concussions, and probably more than that which aren’t documented. It was just residual effects that I couldn’t overcome, which is unfortunate. But sometimes, that’s the way it plays out, and you just have to deal with it.”
McClellin said the Patriots handled his injury situation “perfectly” and that he harbors no ill will toward the team.
“I was feeling good but unfortunately had more residual effects from concussions,” McClellin said. “It’s something they can’t clear you for. That’s the way it is nowadays, they’re tough on concussion things. It’s difficult, but I got through it. One thing I’d say, they handled it like they should have. I’m not upset with them, they’re not upset with me, it’s just the way it is.”
McClellin played in 17 games for the Super Bowl LI champion Patriots in 2016 — his first season in New England after four with the Chicago Bears — recording 43 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and two blocked kicks. He said he no longer feels any residual effects from his most recent head injury.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images