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Thread: Steelers haven't closed the door on Hampton or Starks

  1. #1
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    Steelers haven't closed the door on Hampton or Starks

    Steelers haven't 'closed the door' on Hampton, Starks0By Chris Wesseling
    Around the League Writer
    Published: April 22, 2013 at 03:09 p.m. Friend(s) Email Your Email Send Email By Chris Wesseling Steelers haven't 'closed the door' on Hampton, StarksNFL draft questions: Bucs targeting tight end?More Columns > Free agent nose tackle Casey Hampton's Pittsburgh Steelers future appeared to be over when the team signed Steve McLendon to a three-year contract last week. General manager Kevin Colbert said at Monday's pre-draft press conference, though, that he hasn't "closed the door" on re-signing Hampton or tackle Max Starks.

    The Steelers' willingness to bring back the free agents depends on the outcome of their draft. Neither player is viewed as a starter at this stage in their respective careers.

    This weekend's draft proceedings will also go a long way toward determining whether the team signs Ahmad Bradshaw to play running back.

    Other nuggets from the pre-draft press conference:

    Colbert doesn't envision any draft pick coming in and being an impact player in his first season. "I never do because I think there is always a growing process that has to occur," Colbert explained. The Steelers do believe they can find future starts in the first three rounds of this year's draft.

    Colbert believes there are six to eight special players in this year's draft, but he won't move up to grab one of them. "There will be a good player at 17," Colbert said. "There's no question about that."

    Coach Mike Tomlin said Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert are both "left tackle capable," but a decision hasn't been made yet. Adams appears to be the early favorite.

    The Steelers may consider extending the contract of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders after matching his $2.5 million offer sheet from the New England Patriots.

    Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

    That door might swing open for Starks!

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    I would really like to see Starks return. Since he has drawn little interest elsewhere, at this point, there is a chance that he could be had for the vet minimum, which would barely make a dent in the salary cap.

    As for Hampton, apparently his agent stated that he might sign with the Patriots:

    [URL=""]McLendon visits Packers, signs with Steelers[/URL]

    Restricted free agent nose tackle Steve McLendon visited the Packers on Wednesday, a move that sent shock waves through Pittsburgh's front office, so much so that the Steelers signed him to a three-year contract extension on Thursday.

    The Steelers tendered McLendon, who is expected to move into the starting lineup this season, at $1.3 million and had the right to match any offer he might receive as a free agent. But they would have received no compensation if he signed elsewhere and they decline to match.

    Instead, the Steelers signed him to a three-year, $7.25 million deal, which is a decent price for a 27-year-old nose tackle with little mileage on him.

    The Steelers still list McLendon at 280 pounds, but he's actually about 330.

    Even so, he's a different style of nose tackle than Casey Hampton, who remains on the free agent market.

    McLendon is more of a gap shooter in the mode of Kemo von Oelhoffen, than he is a rock at the point of attack.

    Incidentally, Hampton's agent, Ralph Cindrich, told me on Twitter Wednesday that he expects his client to sign with somebody - possibly New England - once training camp begins.

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    Sign Starks... let Hampton walk.... That's assuming he can still walk after a long offseason at the Golden Corral

  4. #4
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    starks, i would be happy. hampton, i would ask wtf is wrong with them....that would be all lebeau being an old geezer scared of change and not being able to coach defensive linemen up to f'n play. Maybe its time for a new DL coach. our secondary development sucked until Horton was gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelz09 View Post
    Sign Starks... let Hampton walk.... That's assuming he can still walk after a long offseason at the Golden Corral


  6. #6
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    With the cap dollars, unless they decide to play forA Coke and a smile it's shut.

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    Even though neither is a starter according to Colbert, I'm sure the coaches would start both of them if they both came back.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    Even though neither is a starter according to Colbert, I'm sure the coaches would start both of them if they both came back.
    My thoughts exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelz09 View Post
    Sign Starks... let Hampton walk.... That's assuming he can still walk after a long offseason at the Golden Corral
    Haaaaa, thats funny shizzat
    I wish people would/could leave politics out of a Steelers Football Forum.

  10. #10

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    Loss of Casey Hampton big ... in 2 ways

    April 23, 2013
    By Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    You made five Pro Bowls. You were a giant -- literally and figuratively -- on the field and in the locker room. You were adored by your teammates. You deserve to go out in style. You deserve better than a one-line mention in a story announcing a new contract for your backup, who only can hope to be as good as you were.

    "The Steelers' signing of nose tackle Steve McLendon to a three-year, $7.25 million deal means the end for Casey Hampton."

    That simply won't do.

    Hampton is going to be missed.

    "As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person," former longtime teammate Chris Hoke said Monday. "He was the best locker-room guy the Steelers had."

    They broke in together in 2001, Hampton as a No. 1 draft choice, Hoke as an undrafted free agent. Hoke backed up Hampton for 11 seasons before he retired after the 2011 season.

    Let's start with something really important.

    How did Hampton get his wonderful nickname?

    "Big Snack."

    "I think [former defensive end] Travis Kirschke gave it to him," Hoke said. "We had this freezer at training camp and Hamp was always there getting popsicles. He was always snacking."

    Don't misunderstand. Hampton did not live on popsicles alone. His appetite was prodigious. When the Steelers had a team dinner at the home of Jerome Bettis' parents in Detroit before Super Bowl XL, they counted Hampton as two for planning purposes.

    "I think he had three plates," Steelers linebacker James Farrior said that day. Told that Hampton passed on dessert, Farrior said dismissively, "Yeah, he's watching his weight all right. Watching it expand."

    Hampton's coaches didn't always find his extra pounds so amusing. Bill Cowher chided him about his conditioning. Mike Tomlin put him on the physically-unable-to-perform list at training camp before the 2008 season, saying, "He's not in any kind of shape to play football."

    It was the toughest kind of love for a player who had made the Pro Bowl the previous three seasons. Hampton didn't overreact, at least not publicly. Asked how long he expected to be on the PUP list, he said, grinning as usual, "I hope all of camp." Hampton was never thrilled with those practices in the hot sun. He figured it was his job to be ready for the start of the season.

    "He might have been easygoing with the media, but he didn't like being shown up like that," Hoke said. "That lit a fire under him."

    Hampton, indeed, was ready for that season and ended up making the Pro Bowl again.

    What a sight Hampton made on the field. He waddled slowly from the locker room to the sideline while his teammates ran. His helmet seemed squished on his big head. His massive gut hung over his belt. And his backside? You could show a drive-in movie on it.

    But when it came time to play, Hampton was a force. Hoke talked of his remarkable athleticism for such a big man. "No nose tackle could move like him ...

    "Without him for all of those years, our defense wouldn't even have been close to being as good as it was the past decade. It all started with the nose tackle position. He was the best."

    Hampton often took on two or even three blockers, allowing the linebackers to make tackles.

    "I remember so many short-yardage situations," Hoke said. "The center and guard would double-team him. His plant foot wouldn't move an inch. He'd stand up both of them and push them back. That's why our defense was so good against the run."

    The Steelers liked what Hampton brought to the field, but they loved him just as much off the field. They won a game in Dallas in 2004, but the postgame locker room was unusually quiet and sad because Hampton tore up a knee. That's how much he was liked. Before games, it was a ritual for players to tackle Hampton during warm-ups. It usually took four or five to bring him down. He loved it. They loved it. On many days at team headquarters, Hampton would hold court over lunch or in the locker room, always smiling, laughing, telling stories.

    "Everybody loved being around him," Hoke said. "His happiness and playfulness were infectious. It didn't matter if you were on special teams or offense or defense. It didn't matter if you were white or black. Everybody loved Hamp."

    When the Steelers visited the White House after they won Super Bowl XL, President George W. Bush blew by Dan Rooney, Art Rooney II and Cowher to shake Hampton's hand first. The two had worked out together at the University of Texas when Hampton played there and Bush was the governor. You should have seen Hampton's smile that day in the East Room. He never let his teammates forget that he had friends in the highest places.

    Hampton will play again. Although he turns 36 Sept. 3 and has played 12 NFL seasons, he's convinced he has a good year or two left. He played well last season on a Steelers defense that was best in the league statistically.

    Hampton took a pay cut from $4.89 million to $2.8 million to stay with the Steelers in 2012. He also waived a $1 million conditioning bonus. But the team didn't have a spot for him this season. It had salary-cap issues. It also didn't mind getting younger.

    "I talked to him last month," Hoke said. "He still wants to play. He still has that fire. He knows it'll be after the draft now when teams assess their needs ...

    "We used to talk about Ted Washington. He was a big old nose tackle who played a lot of years after people said he was done. Hamp would tell me, 'He did it. I'm just like him. I can do it, too.' "

    Hoke predicted the team that signs Hampton will get so much more than just an aging player.

    "The confidence, the common voice, the experience he will bring in the locker room, you can't pay enough money for that. That's how big Hamp is."

    Literally and figuratively.



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