That's how Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sees it right now.
"This was quite a setback, that suspension," Jones said in an interview during Monday's NFL Total Access. "We'll see how things evolve, see how the weeks go."
It sounds somewhat ominous, and a 10-game ban is tough for any team to swallow. But is the 27-year-old McClain -- with whom Jones said the Cowboys "have had a better relationship than any relationship (McClain has) had in pro football" -- worth keeping?
"There's a lot of reasons why we don't cut him: cap, many reasons," Jones continued. "But the bottom line is, I'd like to be positive about this and think that we haven't seen the last of Rolando McClain."
McClain has had a checkered past, getting cut by the Oakland Raiders after three tumultuous seasons and walking away from the game less than two months after signing with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
But those concerns were alleviated after McClain's return to football with the Cowboys in 2014 via a trade with the Ravens. The linebacker showed the talent and leadership that resulted in him being the eighth-overall pick in the 2010 draft, and the Cowboys were rewarded for taking a chance on him.
McClain was brought in to fill a void created by the loss of Sean Lee to injury. Now, it's McClain who's created a void in the Cowboys' linebacking corps. With McClain only under contract with the Cowboys for 2016 and signs of the relationship already starting to wear thin before the suspension, this could be the start of his final days in Big D. Only time will tell.