Being Good Isn\’t Good Enough For Steelers NT Steve McLendon

Nose tackle Steve McLendon was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as undrafted free agent in 2009 and since that time, he has logged a total of 381 snaps on defense. In those 381 snaps; however, the Troy product showed enough to earn a three-year, $7.25 million contract extension this past offseason.

McLendon talked to the media following the Steelers Tuesday OTA practice and let everyone know about his new way of thinking as he heads into his first season as the starting nose tackle.

“I changed my whole my way of thinking this year,” McLendon said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I\’m no longer saying \’good,\’ I\’m saying \’great\’ because if you speak greatness, greatness will come.”

McLendon, who described himself Tuesday as a combination of nose tackles Casey Hampton, Jay Ratliff and Chris Hoke, knows all about the great defensive players that have played for the Steelers over the years, and that his goal is to become one of them.

“This team has been built on greatness for so long,” said McLendon, per the Bouchette report. “If you go upstairs, you\’ve seen [photos on the office walls of] the guys who were here; they did great things. That\’s the look I\’m looking at. I\’m not coming here just to be good; I want to be great.”

Even though he bounced back and forth between the Steelers 53 man roster and the practice squad early on in his career, McLendon said on Tuesday that he\’s always prepared like he was the starter. That preparation showed in 2011 when he made his one and only career start in the Week 7 game against Arizona Cardinals due to Hampton and Hoke both being sidelined with injuries. In that game, McLendon registered five total tackles and one quarterback pressure and was part of a Steelers defense that held the Cardinals to 73 yards rushing on the day.

When Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell talked to the media during the 2012 draft, he made it known that people should not think the organization was giving up on McLendon just because they selected Washington nose tackle Alameda Ta\’amu in the fourth round.

“Everybody wants to discard McLendon, let me tell you this, hold your opinion until the season is over,” said Mitchell.

Despite only playing 139 snaps in 2012; McLendon made the most of them while backing up Hampton as he registered seven total tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and two quarterback hurries. While many of those snaps came at the nose tackle position in the Steelers base defense, McLendon also showed that he can play defensive tackle when the team employs their nickel package as well as defensive end in the base unit.

As far as McLendon\’s work ethic goes, he wasn\’t afraid to talk about that on Tuesday, either.

“I prepare hard everyday; I work hard everyday; I grind hard everyday,” said McLendon.

  • 2443scott

    well here you see a undrafted player wanting to be like the steelers best saying he trains hard works hard looks at the history of the steelers ..then you have wallace who if used those same things could been up there with swan and hines and stall but no he didnt want to change and make him a self complete wr it was about him ….give me one those guys over any one like wallace even if he didnt make team better at least i know hes there cause he wants to be and wants the team to be great …so good luck this year steve give um all what for.

  • steeltown

    I forgot about that start back in 2011, solid performance on that day and that was almost two yrs ago.. it stands to reason he has improved since then

    I back you Steve… bring the pain in 2013

  • $19122620

    Looking forward to McLendon this year. It is is time, and I think he is going to have a break out year of sorts. To the point that we are comfortable with him moving forward and can check that off as far as future draft needs.

  • dgh57

    McLendon performed very good in his limited playing time and if you extrapolate that over a entire season as a starter then I think he could have a great season!! So “being good isn’t good enough” is what I like to hear!

  • westcoasteeler

    Seems that EVERY player is saying the right things this year. The attitude that is permeating throughout camp is adding to my excitement…

  • Pete

    So true. There are a lot of players you can say that about. You have so many examples of guys striving for perfection and then you have the guys who are content to coast or not go the extra mile to improve. I guess you can see that in all professions.

  • Steve

    We have 3 nose tackles that can do the job. If Steve continues to be GREAT the possibilities are endless.

  • David Edward

    Now that McClendon is the starting NT, do you think they will finally stop listing him at 280? For some reason that really annoys me. It’s one thing if he really was only 280, but I’ve heard him say he was up to 325 at one point. Not sure what he came to OTAs at, but I sure wish they list him closer to his real weight.

  • Steve

    Does it matter? Lambert was slim and he is in the HOF. Urlacker started out as a Safety and was slim. It is NOT what you have but how you use it. James was listed as 5-10 and was about 5-8 but the dude could move.

  • charles

    Maclendon is going to the Pro Bowl. He and Timmons will be our undisputed leaders on the front 7.

  • dgh57

    I like your optimism but let’s give McLendon at least one season of starting first! Maybe 2014