Don't get Steve McLendon wrong — he's quite happy taking over for Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton.

But the undrafted free agent out of Troy wants more … much more.

McLendon wouldn't mind sliding over to defensive end on third downs when the Steelers are in their nickel package in order to showcase something a 3-4 nose tackle shouldn't be able to do — rush the passer.

“I tell them not to take that pass rush from me because I can do that, I can rush the passer,” McLendon said. “I tell (defensive line coach John Mitchell) that all the time, but he won't let me.”

It's possible McLendon just isn't beating the right ear. Maybe he needs to step up a level of management to be heard?

“If he shows that he is capable of us helping us through three downs, I'll utilize him,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “So tell him I said that.”

Actually, the Steelers are more interested in McLendon being able to use his 320-pound frame on first and second downs to stop the run rather than chase the quarterback.

Still, McLendon dropped 15 pounds from a season ago in order to have the opportunity to stay on the field on all downs.

“I don't want to be good, I want to be great,” he said. “And great players don't come off the field.”

McLendon showed enough promise last year in his limited opportunities to allow the Steelers to part ways with Hampton after 12 seasons. And he showed enough that when Green Bay expressed interest in the restricted free agent in April that the Steelers quickly responded with a three-year, $7.5 million deal for the 27-year-old.

“Steve has a lot of potential,” veteran defensive end Brett Keisel said. “He's a good, hardworking kid who comes to work ready to work every day.”