When it comes to understanding how to mentally and physically prepare for another season, it’s safe to say Jets defensive lineman Steve McLendon has been around the block a few times. Heading into his 10th training camp, the experienced vet has closely determined the areas his teammates should be focusing on during their time off.
“For all the guys I just say come back in the best shape of your life,” the 6’3”, 310-pound powerhouse said. “Training Camp is going to be hot, it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be fast. But if you get in very good shape, you’re going to be okay. Study your plays. Study, study, study, study, be in great shape, and let the chips fall where they fall.”
On a young Jets’ roster, only ageless quarterback Josh McCown has accrued more pro seasons than McLendon. Entering his third year with the Green & White, McLendon has established a presence on the field while providing a stout presence in the middle against the run and racking up 3.5 sacks and 1.5 sacks respectively. So when it comes to dialing in on the task at hand, McLendon is well-versed.
“For me it’s pretty easy. Stay humble because I know what’s at stake. I always want to win. I know my main purpose, I know my why,” McLendon started. “I’m here to do one thing and one thing only, and that’s just try to win. Help this team, help this club win a championship. And that’s what I try to rub off on every other guy, and not try to talk about it but try to show everyone by my works.”
Although playing in the league for nearly ten years brings a sense of wisdom and appreciation for the game, McLendon hasn’t always been so sure of his purpose. The confidence he carries with himself now and instills in others seemed to be sparked by a Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2010, when McLendon lined up in the trenches for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I was like, ‘I know what kind of feeling I want to have,’ I want that confetti to fall down on me at the end of the Super Bowl game and say we were the best team in the world,” he said.