Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon is talking in third person. That's usually not a good sign.
It seems he's doing it as part of a strategy to surround himself with confidence. Or greatness, as he told Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette in Wednesday's edition.
"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 (Hampton), I want to be smart like Chris Hoke, and I want to be quick and fast like Jay Ratliff of the [Dallas] Cowboys."
That's lofty company. At least two of the three he mentioned are Steelers. Two of those three, though, are among the best nose tackles of their generation. With nine Pro Bowls between them, it wouldn't be surprising if their names are attached to Hall of Fame conversation when their careers are over.
McLendon, to put it mildly, is at the beginning of that journey.
Fresh off a three-year contract after receiving the low-level tender offer in restricted free agency, McLendon appears to be the likely starter at nose tackle for the Steelers - a spot that's been occupied by Hampton and occasionally Hoke for the last 12 years. It's new ground for the organization as well as McLendon, but clearly, he's excited about the challenge.
The Steelers defense has been transformed significantly since it helped propel the team to Super Bowl XLV. There are still some of the foundation pieces from those days, new players like McLendon are stepping in to begin a new generation of Steelers defense.
If McLendon backs up his talk, it's tough to see it being any less menacing than it was in those days.