On the field, Steve McLendon is known as a bulldozing force with 10 years of NFL experience under his belt and an 11th on the horizon for the 2020 season. He's respected for his unmatched work ethic, unshakable determination and focus, and he's praised for his undeniable ability to motivate those around him. Basically, he's not your typical 34-year-old defensive lineman, and he acknowledges that.
So, when the opportunity arose to make his long-time dreams of opening a gym come true, McLendon took advantage of it.
"It's not just getting people in here, but we're in here changing people's lives," McLendon said. "My number one goal is to make people better and make them be more. I really believe in everyone. I always say there's enough negativity in the world to add to, so I'm always going to add positivity. One of the biggest things for us is I just want to add positivity and light to everyone's life."
It's called Team MVP Gym, and it means "McLendon Vision Performance." Founded by the 6'3", 310-pound lineman, Team MVP Gym offers a training facility for athletes of all ages to help individuals get into unbeatable shape, even opening its doors to professional athletes. Some of the services listed on the gym's website include NFL Combine training, sports-specific training, fitness classes and restoration.
Slapped directly across the website's home page in bold red and white lettering reads "The Gym Is Always Open," a phrase that McLendon has lived and preached by for many years.
"Every time they walk through that door, it's 'Welcome to Team MVP,' " McLendon said. "They're going to go out and walk back in and it's going to be 'Welcome to Team MVP.' I feel like greeting someone is very special and it makes people feel special and appreciative to be somewhere. I want us to be extremely successful. And not just successful, but I want us to be valued. When people look at Team MVP, I want them to say that's a place you can go and feel part of the family."
Through his decade in the league, McLendon has played in 138 games and recorded 234 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He's been a monumental resource to those not only off the field but to his teammates on the field as well. One player who has spent time under McLendon's guidance the past two years is Jets' defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi, who showed up for the grand opening of Team MVP Gym.
"Steve is someone who is willing to give everything he knows and everything he has," Fatukasi said. "To come out here and support him, especially with everything he's taught me and how much he's guided me throughout this system, it's important to me. Honestly, he's like a big brother to me, so I can't just not come out here and not support him. This is a vision that — when I first met him — he talked to me about. His thing is about vision, manifestation, to keep thinking about something and keep working on it.
"This man does a lot of inspirational stuff."
Team MVP Gym opened its doors to the public two weeks ago in Flowery Branch, GA. Along with providing assistance to young athletes in preparation for the 2020 NFL Combine, McLendon will continue to train for the upcoming football season as he enters his fifth year as a New York Jet.