McLinton was drafted by the Redskins in the 1969 NFL Draft out of Southern University and A&M College in the sixth round. He spent his entire 10-year career with the Redskins, playing in 127 games. He was a key contributor on the 1972 NFC Championship team. He finished his career with four interceptions and one touchdown. McLinton died on October 31, 1980 at the age of 33 from complications resulting from massive injuries sustained after being struck by a passing vehicle on Interstate 295 in southeast Washington after stopping to help a stranger change a flat tire. He was survived by his wife, Agnes, and two sons. He was a 1966 graduate of Harper High School in Atlanta, GA and went on to attend Southern on a football scholarship. He graduated May, 1969 with a Bachelors degree in Marketing & Management.