Steve McLendon says he knew his time with the Jets was up — and he still suited up for winless Gang Green anyway.
The team’s former defensive tackle told Buccaneers reporters that he found out he was being traded Saturday night and played in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins in Miami anyway.
“I got the news on Saturday night a car would be waiting for me after the game Sunday to come to Tampa,” the 34-year-old said. “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.’”
The trade — the Jets received a sixth-round pick in 2022 from McLendon and a seventh-round choice in the 2021 draft — wasn’t announced until after the Jets-Dolphins game. McLendon seems happy to be playing with Tampa Bay, given a shot to reach the playoffs after several non-competitive years with the Jets. The Buccaneers, now led by Tom Brady, are 4-2 ahead of Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
“The biggest thing is, I’m here now,” he said. “This is one of the greatest opportunities for me in my career.”
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