View Full Version : Weighty issue doesn't bother Hampton

05-02-2010, 10:16 AM
Weighty issue doesn't bother Hampton

Sunday, May 2, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 79141.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_679141.html)

Talk of the Incredible Shrinking Casey Hampton has been just that.

So said Hampton when told of chatter around the Steelers' locker room about all of the weight the veteran nose tackle has lost.

"Everybody thinks that I have, but I really haven't," he said Saturday. "They're just not used to seeing me here -- that's all that it is."

What can't be disputed is the dedication Hampton has shown to offseason conditioning. In the past, such a concept has been an oxymoron for Hampton, who just two years ago showed up at training camp so out of shape that coach Mike Tomlin banished him to the physically unable to perform list.

But since signing a three-year, $21.2 million contract in February, Hampton has been a regular at the Steelers' practice facility. He has lifted with teammates and taken part in the six offseason sessions the team held heading into the final day of minicamp today.

"I just decided to come here this year and work out," said Hampton, who usually spends much of the offseason in his native Texas. "I just came up here to do something different."

Hampton will have a hard time selling his teammates on the notion that he doesn't look any different.

"Casey's lost weight," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He's working really hard, and I think all of the criticism he's had about his weight and stuff has gotten a little old to him."

"Oh, he lost weight," inside linebacker Larry Foote agreed. "I told him I was going to slam him because we're always wrestling. I think I've got an opportunity to slam him."

That may be a stretch, considering bigger men than the 239-pound Foote have tried and failed to budge Hampton -- much less body-slam him. Hampton is one of the premier nose tackles in the NFL, and his squat build and ability to stay on his feet allow the 6-foot-1, 325-pounder to consistently occupy multiple blockers in the Steelers' 3-4 defense.

Hampton has never had more than 44 tackles or 2.5 sacks in a season, yet the 10-year veteran has made five Pro Bowls. The Steelers recognized Hampton's value when they re-signed him before he became an unrestricted free agent, and they made a significant investment in a player who is 32 and has struggled at times to manage his weight. The new deal could let Hampton finish his career where it started, but he has not ruled out playing beyond 2012.

If he hasn't lost weight, Hampton at least conceded that he has converted some flab to muscle. But he also said, referring to his listed playing weight, "I ain't seen 325 in a long time."

Defensive end Aaron Smith said he has never seen the player known as "Big Snack" look so good at this time of the year.

"He's running around and doing things he normally wouldn't do," Smith said. "Any time you get Hamp showing up in shape, it's a good sign."