Last week during his podcast, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Craig Wolfley, who also serves as the team’s sideline reporter for radio network, said nose tackle Steve McLendon has put on weight during the offseason.
On Thursday, McLendon told the media that he has indeed added 17 pounds since last season and that he now tips the scales at 330 pounds.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McLendon claimed that he was asked by the coaches to drop down to 313 pounds last season and that in doing so it took a toll on him as the season wore on.
“Me gaining the weight was the most important thing for me, I felt, to be a healthier and better player,” said McLendon, according to Bouchette.
In order to add the weight, McLendon said he did more heavy lifting and less long-distance running.
In addition to adding weight this offseason, McLendon also said he has worked on strengthening the muscles in his ankles. Last season, the former undrafted free agent out of Troy missed two of the final five regular season games after suffering an ankle injury in the Week 12 win over the Cleveland Browns.
“I want to make sure I keep those ankles strong because I want to be a player for my team,” said McLendon. “I am going to be a player for my team. They need me as I need them.”
Last year was McLendon’s first full year as a starter after serving as the primary backup to Casey Hampton in 2012 and there’s no reason to think that he won’t improve in 2013.
“It was a learning season for me,” McLendon said. “I started off pretty good, I thought. As the season went on my body started to get beat down. It started to get tough for me.”
Now that he’s added some weight, 2014 figures to be tough for the offensive lineman that McLendon faces.
“I have confidence in myself. I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to show what I’m capable of.”