Family man Steve McLendon talks New York Jets training camp & COVID-19 implications

Seth Everett

For the New York Jets to comply with all the NFL training camp protocols due to COVID-19, there must be sacrifices from the players and staff. Jets nose tackle Steve McLendon knows the players will have to be more responsible than ever before for the season to be completed, let alone be a success.

“I feel like for us here, we're going to do the right things to get on the field, but that doesn't stop the chances of getting sick,” McLendon said Friday on a call with the media. “Because you are traveling, you have to go to the grocery store. You never know where it could come from. You can be doing the right thing and still get sick. Just all of a sudden by seeing your family. You can be at home every single day and go from home to work and go play that game on Sunday, ended up getting sick.”

McLendon signed with the Jets in March of 2016 after six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Troy in 2009.

The Jets will not have any preseason games, as that was agreed to in order to limit travel and exposure to other people during the pandemic. He believes that undrafted free agents will have the hardest time making the team without many opportunities to impress coaches during those preseason games as he had back in 2009.

“Preseason was my everything, training camp was my everything,” McLendon said. “I feel like those guys that are undrafted free agents, they're really at a disadvantage. Even late draft pick guys or guys that just came here from other teams, they don't have anything. This is an extremely tough challenge. The biggest type of advice that I could give, all of them is just stay focused, stay driven, and don't let your dreams die.”