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NT Steve McLendon Joins Jets' D-Line

Big Man from State of Alabama Saw His Role Grow in Six Seasons on Pittsburgh Steelers' Defense


The Jets have signed seventh-year nose tackle Steve McLendon.

McLendon (6'4", 320), an unrestricted free agent, had been a Steeler his entire NFL career and a regular starter the past three seasons. He was signed by Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent out of Troy after the 2009 draft. He was waived from the Steelers active roster or released from their practice squad five times in '09-10, yet always returned either to the practice squad or the active roster and played in seven games in '10.

From there he became a regular contributor to the Black & Gold defense, playing in 76 regular-season and playoff games (34 starts) from 2011-15. He had 9.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and eight QB hits out of the Steelers 3-4, including a strip-sack of Michael Vick in 2012, a sack of Panthers QB Cam Newton in '14, and 1.5 sacks of Bengals QB Andy Dalton (whom the Jets should be facing in '16).

McLendon, a 30-year-old Alabamian, drew some offseason headlines in 2013 for an off-beat off-field pursuit of his: ballet. He had been taking ballet lessons since his senior year at Troy for what he thought might be some "easy" college credits but also to help him with his football shape and physical health.

Jets NT Had 9.5 Tackles for Loss, 5.0 Sacks & Eight QB Hits with the Steelers

"It's harder than anything else I do," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about his hobby, which he pursued intermittently but as often as twice a week as a Steeler. "It keeps you injury-free, keeps your ankles, feet and toes strong, and you get away from knee injuries."

He's light enough on his feet to have gotten to play some DE last midseason for Pittsburgh. And while his tackle numbers in the Steelers scheme weren't as high as those compiled by Damon "Snacks" Harrison, who left for the Giants at the start of free agency, his TFL and pass rush numbers are similar.

And as he competes on the Jets D-line, he just might bring some classical dance moves to the standard sack dance around the AFC East.

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