Tuscaloosa, Ala. — A witness reported seeing a car speeding away from the exclusive neighborhood where a suspicious fire gutted a mansion owned by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Norris said the vehicle could be a clue in the fire, which occurred Monday night, but investigators had yet to determine whether the blaze was accidental or purposely set.
County detectives and investigators from the state fire marshal's office were on the scene of the fire, which destroyed a six-bedroom, five-bath brick house that was listed for sale on real estate websites at $1.5 million.
A crime dog will be used to determine whether something was used as an accelerant to start the fire, Norris said.
"Anytime you have a vacant house go up, particularly one of that value, you have to consider it suspicious," he said. "Every house in that neighborhood is probably over $1 million."
A spokesman for the Cowboys declined comment on the fire, and McClain was not immediately available for comment. The player tweeted about the fire, however: "It can't be real! To (sic) much of my 'history' in that house for it to be gone..."
McClain, a 25-year-old native of Decatur, Alabama, listed the house as his home address in a court document filed in September accusing his ex-wife of failing to give him adequate visitation time with their 31/2-year-old daughter.
The house sat on four acres of land beside Lake Tuscaloosa about 14 miles north of Tuscaloosa, where McClain played college football at the University of Alabama. The house had a three-car garage and a boat house on the shore.
McClain is now making an NFL comeback with the Cowboys after legal scrapes that include his conviction in July on charges including resisting arrest.
Smith denies drinking
San Francisco outside linebacker Aldon Smith said he visited Ray McDonald's home for a short time the day the ex-49ers defensive lineman is accused of sexually assaulting a woman.
Smith said he didn't drink any alcohol and that he is regularly checked for sobriety. He served a nine-game suspension this year for violations of the NFL's substance abuse and personal conduct policies.
Bell Steelers' MVP
Le'Veon Bell's breakout season caught the attention of teammates. The Steelers voted the second-year running back from Michigan State the team's MVP. Bell edged wide receiver Antonio Brown (Central Michigan) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the award.
Bell has already set a franchise record with 2,115 yards from scrimmage. His 77 receptions are also a team record for a running back.
The Bears placed ex-Lions defensive end Willie Young on injured reserve because of a torn left Achilles tendon and signed former Lions defensive end Austen Lane.
Young, who had a career-high 10 sacks in his first season with the Bears, was injured in Sunday's loss to Detroit.
... The Raiders sent Derek Carr home to rest after the rookie quarterback showed up Tuesday feeling ill.
... The Falcons placed safety William Moore on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.