“I am approaching things like I have every other year, to prepare as a starter, get better every day,” said McLendon. “Right now I just want to take it one day, one practice at a time and take the steps to get better as a player.”
McLendon, in his fourth season, worked throughout the offseason to prepare for his new role, making sure he is in top physical condition to handle the rigors of being an every down player if needed.
“Whatever they allow me to play, I will,” said McLendon. “I am willing to do anything to help this team win. I just have to do what the coaches ask of me. Whatever they ask, however many downs they want me to play, I have to listen and work hard. I have to play fast, play hard and play smart.”
“I expect great things, big things,” said Hood. “He is a guy that can bring a lot to the table. Steve is going to do a great job. He is going to fill in and hold the spot down. It might take some time to adjust, but he is going to do a great job.
“He brings speed, energy and passion. When he speaks, you listen to him. He is going to be that leader in the future.”
Hood and McLendon are constants in the team’s weight room, working together and pushing each other daily. Hood sees all of the hard work now paying off for McLendon.
“He works hard,” said Hood. “He is a guy that is always running. He is always going to be in shape. He is as strong as an ox. He is going to bring a lot to the table.”
* * *
The last time wide receiver
“From a demeanor standpoint, from a coaching standpoint, you are talking about two totally different personalities,” said Burress. “Coach Cowher drafted me here 14 camps ago. He is a father figure to me. He supported me, stayed in contact with me through all of the years.
“Coach Tomlin keeps it light around here. He doesn’t put pressure on anybody, but when we are on the field, it’s all work.”