Despite improvements in the understanding of rotator cuff pathology and advances in surgical treatment options, repairs of chronic rotator cuff tears often re-tear or fail to heal after surgery. Hence, there is a critical need for new regenerative repair strategies that provide effective mechanical reinforcement of rotator cuff repair as well as stimulate and enhance the patient's intrinsic healing potential. This article will discuss and identify appropriate models for translating regenerative medicine therapies for rotator cuff repair. Animal models are an essential part of the research and development pathway; however, no one animal model reproduces all of the features of the human injury condition. The rat shoulder is considered the most appropriate model to investigate the initial safety, mechanism, and efficacy of biologic treatments aimed to enhance tendon-to-bone repair. Whereas large animal models are considered more appropriate to investigate the surgical methods, safety and efficacy of the mechanical-or combination biologic/mechanical-strategies are ultimately needed for treating human patients. The human cadaver shoulder model, performed using standard-of-care repair techniques, is considered the best for establishing the surgical techniques and mechanical efficacy of various repair strategies at time zero. While preclinical models provide a critical aspect of the translational pathway for engineered tissues, controlled clinical trials and postmarketing surveillance are also needed to define the efficacy, proper indications, and the method of application for each new regenerative medicine strategy.