Tonight, on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon will be featured practicing ballet in a segment by Rick Reilly.
According to a July article by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McLendon started ballet lessons during his senior year at Troy University in Alabama in order to obtain a few easy credits. His instructor at the time reportedly told him it would help him become a better football player and he has continued to take lessons off and on ever since.
As we pointed out this past week, McLendon showed amazing footwork while defending the outside-zone in the season opening loss to the Tennessee Titans and while there were no pirouettes involved, he stayed square to the line while maintaining his gap responsibilities.
McLendon, who will reportedly be joined in the segment by fellow Steelers defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Al Woods, is of course not the first Pittsburgh player to use ballet in order to help his game. Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann credited several years of dance lessons that included ballet, tap and jazz to his success.
In order to prepare you for the Monday night McLendon ballet segment, here is an old NFL Films segment featuring Swann and his use of ballet during his career.