It was reported that following the Jets’ Week 6 game against the Dolphins on Sunday, the Bucs’ newest defensive tackle Steve McLendon took a car straight from Miami to Tampa on Sunday night following his announced trade. But according to McLendon, he knew that the trade would happen the night before his final game with New York.
“I got the news on Saturday night that a car would be waiting for me after the game on Sunday to come to Tampa,” McLendon said. “Sunday morning I woke up, I prayed and I was like, it’s one last ride. I told my boys, it’s one last ride together.”
It comes as a bit of a surprise that McLendon would go on to play in the game on Sunday with the knowledge that he may be with a new team before the sun came up the following morning, and apparently it was even a surprise to some of his teammates.
“A lot of guys were saying, ‘man, you’re really going to play?'” McClendon added. “And I said this could be the last time I play with y’all in my career, so let’s go out here and make it a great one, let’s go have some fun. Even though we lost that day, there was some good football played between us and when it was over with, it was emotional.”
While it was tough for him knowing that Sunday would be his last time suiting up for the Jets, an organization he’s been with since 2016, McLendon added that it’s a great opportunity to re-join his former head coach in Todd Bowles and help the Bucs make a Super Bowl run.
“It was very emotional because I made a lot of great friends there and family members there that I call my family now,” McLendon said. “The biggest thing is, I’m here now. This is one of the greatest opportunities for me and my career. It’s a great, great opportunity to come and be a part of an organization that wants you at this age. I do realize what happened with Vita Vea, he’s a great player as well, but right now I’m just happy to be here and eager to get on the football field with these guys and continue to help them make that run for the championship.”