Steve McLendon will be featured on an ESPN feature before the Steelers Week 2 game against Bengals

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

McLendon uses a combination of power and grace in his game, and judging by his Week 1 performance, he's set for a national stage Monday against Cincinnati.

Naturally, the story of a 300-plus pound defensive lineman doing ballet will pique the curiosity of ESPN national columnist Rick Reilly.

That's basically how it came to be Steve McLendon - the guy no one knew at this time last year - will be the feature subject in a piece done by Reilly during ESPN's Monday Night Countdown show.

As ESPN's Steelers writer Scott Brown wrote, "ESPN dispatched columnist Rick Reilly and producer Kris Schwartz to Pittsburgh to flesh out the story and look at the juxtaposition of a blue-collar city and the art that became associated with its beloved Steelers in the 1970s thanks to Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann."

McLendon, who took a ballet class to fill out his schedule while at Troy, credits his ability to rise from undrafted free agent to Casey Hampton's successor. A very-Swann-like statement.

McLendon is leaping elsewhere, too. In his first start this season, he played very well all around, and showed a level of quickness and grace the Steelers haven't had along their defensive line in some time. He has an explosive quality that will be on display nationally, and if no one else notices it, the Cincinnati Bengals are likely to remember him - even if no one knew the dancer-turned-nose-tackle last year.

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