Wednesday, July 11, 2012

McLendon Isn't 280 And It Isn't 4:20 In Pittsburgh

"I'm back." - Michael Jordan

"I'm thinkin' about makin' a comeback." - Muhammed Ali, The Greatest

"Don't call it a comeback!" - LL Cool J

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, Steeler Nation. We at If It Ain't Steel have come out of rehab following a nervous breakdown to get back into the ring and we're coming out swinging. Not pulling punches, just throwing haymakers!

On Wednesday, Pro Football Talk posted what seemed to be a well-written article regarding Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon. The problem is that they listed McLendon at 280 pounds. He isn't 280 lbs. and hasn't been for about a year now.

The article "Steelers’ Steve McLendon: I can play nose tackle at 280 pounds." Not that McLendon didn't say those words, because I'm sure he did. My problem is that I can't find the actual quote. I've looked over the Internet and can't find those specific words within an article, just those eight words.

Everything I'd read, and that I've written, to this point has been that McLendon had bulked up the last year and a half. He was supposedly closer to 300 lbs. last year and is reportedly around 320 lbs. now. Don't believe me? Ok, that's cool. But you should believe Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider and Steelers Digest and Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a couple of guys who spend a little bit of their time around the team and facilities.

On his Twitter page Wexell tweeted this in response to Pro Football Talk's article: "@jimwexell: Steve McLendon can play nose at 280 http://t.co/uTjFhJpQ Because he's 320."

He then tweeted this: "@jimwexell: McLendon's actually 325. Been listed at 280 since was URFA in 2009. Listing must be reason so many media predicted Steelers would draft NT."

The "listing" comment has real validity. Do the eyeball test, people. Did Big Ben LOOK like he was 241 lbs. a couple of years ago? I would have debates with fellow fans about his weight...but we were debating about 250 lbs as opposed to 260 lbs. I would venture to guess that, using the eyeball test, McLendon looks at least 300 lbs when watching him on the field.

Now, what about Kaboly? What'd he have to say? "@MarkKaboly_Trib: #Steelers NT Steve McLendon weighs 325-330 pounds."

He also touched on the original weight listing when he tweeted, "@MarkKaboly_Trib: Don't believe weights on #Steelers roster. They don't change them after initial rookie weigh-in."

Even if he isn't quite the 330 lbs. claimed by Kaboly, the Steelers coaches certainly have confidence in McLendon. We quoted Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell in a previous blog post saying as much. It was after the NFL Draft when he praised and defended McLendon. Read what Mitchell had to say here: http://t.co/2sClOgUG

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Wednesday morning, a respected member of the media, when speaking of this Thursday's NFL Supplemental Draft, suggested something the Steelers might do. He surmised, "What if Steelers surprised everyone & took Josh Gordon in tomorrow's supplemental draft. Big receiver. Would send loud message to Wallace. He's there in the 6th RD they better take him."

My response to that when I read it was an expected one: What are you smoking?!?

Actually, that's an easy answer: the same thing Gordon, the 6'3" 225-pound former Baylor wide receiver who ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at his pro day Tuesday, was smoking that got him suspended. The suspension which led to him being in Thursday's supplemental draft.

"It (suspension at Baylor) was due to a failed marijuana test," Gordon told the Houston Chronicle after his Pro Day work out Tuesday. "It was against school policy, of course, and I was (suspended) in the summer. I've definitely put that part of my life behind me. I don't plan to ever go back there. It was a difficult time, but I learned from it, and I've moved on."

Ok, I'll buy what you're selling. You did it in under 420 characters too. The Steelers, though, have already invested some green in purple, and they won't do it again. Sacrificing a draft pick for a weed-smoking risk won't happen. Not judging him at all, I just know it won't happen. Especially since there's varying opinions on his worth in the first place.

He's projected to go in the third round to the Cleveland Browns, according to Sigmund Bloom of FOOTBALLGUYS.COM, and Albert Breer of NFL.com says Josh Gordon may be "overhyped" http://t.co/G6CEqo5d

Not nearly enough to burn a draft pick (no pun intended).

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TIDBITS: Brief salary cap news from Brian McIntyre of NFL.com Tuesday, the Steelers are somewhere between $116-$117 million for the Rule of 51 number, which, according to NFL.com, puts them $3.734 million under the salary cap number.

In the report they state that the Steelers adjusted cap number is $121.195 million: the $120,600,000 base 2012 salary cap figure, plus the $506,000 remaining cap space left over from last year and other Chinese arithmetic.

Bottom line: the Steelers have room for Mike Wallace (y'all knew we couldn't do this without mentioning him) and an 11th hour move should an injury occur. Like, for instance, if I go to Latrobe and go all Tonya Harding on Jonathan Scott's leg. Not that I would, I'm just sayin...though, it would also save money in the process. Hm...