- Charles Harris-OLB, Missouri
- Rasul Douglas-CB, West Virginia
- Chris Godwin-WR, Penn State
- John Johnson-S, Boston College
- James Conner-RB, Pitt
- Nazair Jones-DT, North Carolina
- Garrett Sickels, DE/OLB, Penn State
Plus people still assume McClendon's poor vs. the run because they think he's 280 lbs. Dude's 330 these days! Hasn't been below 300#'s for a long time. Not sure why media guide still lists him at his weight coming out of Troy.
WilliamsonNFL Matt Williamson
Per an agent: McLendon base 2013 $900,000, 2014 $2.425M & 2015 $2.25M Cap hit in 2014 is $1,458,333
16 minutes ago
Steelers OTAs: Al Woods second team nose tackle
By Michael Uhlhorn on May 28 2013
Four-year pro Al Woods is getting consistent reps as the Steelers second-string nose tackle
Al Woods is still manning backup duties at nose tackle for Pittsburgh according to multiple reports coming out of the second session of OTA's.
This might come as a bit of a surprise to some who expected Hebron Fangupo or Alameda Ta'Amu to be the backup to new starter Steve McLendon, with Woods filling in as a backup DE, the role he played last season. This leaves Fangupo and Ta'Amu fighting not only each other, but Al Woods for a roster spot. Should be interesting to see how this plays out through training camp.
In other nose tackle news today, former-Steeler great Casey Hampton isn't looking to retire just yet, so you have to wonder if a June 1st reunion is in the works if the best backup the Steelers can muster is the very untested Al Woods. I support McLendon being the starter, but it would be nice to have some veteran depth behind him, and Casey Hampton could provide that once the Steelers have $5.5 million freed up on June 1 as the result of the Willie Colon release.
We should know soon if the Steelers are planning to bring Hampton back, and for whatever its worth, the Steelers tipped their hand with Max Starks by signing OT Guy Whimper, and they have yet to do anything in the way of bringing in a nose tackle from outside the organization.
Steelers' McLendon steps up as No. 1 nose tackle
May 29, 2013
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
What do you do when you combine nose tackles Casey Hampton, Jay Ratliff and Chris Hoke?
"You get the typical Steve McLendon," Steve McLendon said.
Meet the Steelers' new starting nose tackle. If you thought the old one who held that job the past 12 years played with confidence and candor, wait until you hear Hampton's successor.
"If y'all want to know the typical Steve McLendon, I can tell you," he instructed. "The typical Steve McLendon is I want to be powerful and strong like Casey, I want to be smart like Chris Hoke, and I want to be quick and fast like Jay Ratliff of the [Dallas] Cowboys."
Hampton made five Pro Bowls and Ratliff four as two of the best nose tackles in the league.
"Isn't that always the goal?" McLendon asked Tuesday after the team's fourth spring practice. "You don't come out here just to be a secondary guy. You come out here to be the greatest, that's how I look at it.
"I changed my whole my way of thinking this year. I'm no longer saying 'good,' I'm saying 'great' because if you speak greatness, greatness will come."
And why can't it come for McLendon?
Born in Ozark, Ala., he played at Troy and came to the Steelers in 2009 the same way James Harrison did, as an undrafted free agent.
He has it all over Harrison, though, because McLendon was cut four times by the Steelers -- once in 2009 and three times in 2010. He became a footnote in 2010 when he was released to make room for Ben Roethlisberger's return to the roster after his four-game NFL suspension. He also was cut once from the practice squad.
McLendon made steady progress, took over for the retired Hoke as Hampton's backup last season and now the job is his, along with a new three-year contract worth $7.25 million. His new deal came one day after he paid Green Bay a visit in April as a restricted free agent. The Packers were prepared to sign him.
Going undrafted and cut four times has motivated him "not a little bit, a lot."
"The only thing you can do is wear it like a coat, keep it on your shoulder, humble yourself. That's when you become successful, when you humble yourself, remember those things and push forward from those things."
At 27, McLendon has a chance to become an overnight sensation.
"Opportunities sometimes like this for a guy like myself are hard to come by,"
McLendon said. "That's why I have to play fast, play harder, play smarter, and just play with the gift God gave me."
McLendon played in 139 defensive snaps in 2012 behind Hampton's 503. According to ratings compiled by Pro Football Focus, Hampton had a minus-9.4 while McLendon had a plus-7.0 ranking, fifth best among Steelers defenders in 2012.
There is a difference, however, in playing 139 snaps vs. 600, and McLendon knows that.
"When you want to be an every-down guy, you have to be in better shape," McLendon said. "You just have to look at everything differently.
"This team has been built on greatness for so long.
"If you go upstairs, you've seen [photos on the office walls of] the guys who were here, they did great things. That's the look I'm looking at. I'm not coming here just to be good, I want to be great."
The Steelers still list McLendon at 280 pounds as they did before they cut him the first time.
He laughed about the discrepancy of 30 pounds or so, but said, "leave it at 280; that's what's going to fool everybody."
While he has gained weight over the past four years, he claims never to have prepared differently.
"I already prepared like a starter since Day 1. Even when I was getting cut, I still prepared like I was a starter. If you put yourself in the mindset of being a starter, one day you will be a starter. I never came in here thinking I was going to be a backup."
He talks a lot with Hampton, whom he said still wants to play somewhere this year. He continues to take advice from his mentor, who told him to "Remember to be humble, stay strong, stay firm in what you believe in, and, most important of all, just play football. It's still a game."
If y'all want to know the typical RuthlessBurgher, I can tell you. The typical RuthlessBurgher is I want to be rich like Bill Gates, I want to be smart like Stephen Hawking, and I want to be attractive to the ladies like Brad Pitt."If y'all want to know the typical Steve McLendon, I can tell you," he instructed. "The typical Steve McLendon is I want to be powerful and strong like Casey, I want to be smart like Chris Hoke, and I want to be quick and fast like Jay Ratliff of the [Dallas] Cowboys."
Just in case y'all were wondering.
1. CB Sidney Jones, Washington 6'0" 181
2. FS Budda Baker, Washington 5'10" 192
3. OLB Tyus Bowser, Houston 6'2" 244
4. ILB Connor Harris, Lindenwood 5'11 241
5. RB James Conner, Pittsburgh 6'2" 240
5c. TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas 6'5" 256
6. QB Chad Kelly, Mississippi 6'2" 224
7. WR Demore'ea Stringfellow, Mississippi 6'2" 212
7c. DE Collin Bevins, Northwest Missouri State 6'5" 286
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