Word of a trade sending defensive tackle Steve McLendon from the Jets to the Buccaneers broke shortly after the Jets lost 24-0 to the Dolphins last Sunday, but it didn’t come as a surprise to McLendon.
McLendon told reporters on Friday that he actually found out about the trade the night before the game and opted to play a final game for the Jets before making his way to Tampa. McLendon played 24 snaps in his swan song.
“I got the news on Saturday night a car would be waiting for me after the game Sunday to come to Tampa,” McLendon said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “And I was like, ‘Okay.’ Sunday morning, I woke up. I prayed. And I was like, It’s one last ride. I told my boys, I was like, ‘It’s one last ride together.’ A lot of guys were saying like, ‘Man, you’re going to really play?’ And I was like, ‘This might be the last time I play with you in my career.'”
It’s surprising that the Jets would sign off on McLendon playing in the game and risking an injury that could have scrapped the trade before it became official. The decision wound up working out for them and McLendon, which marks a rare win for the 2020 Jets.