Running men, Steelers do the run test

<b>LATROBE -</b> Because of rain, the Steelers were forced indoors to complete their annual run test Saturday here at St. Vincent College.

And it appears that running in a gymnasium suited the players just fine as everyone, even Casey Hampton, completed the drill of 16 40-yard sprints.

Hampton, who had struggled to complete the drill two years ago and failed to finish it last season, was the star of Saturday's run, winning his final sprint of his group.

As the massive Pro Bowl nose tackle crossed the baseline just ahead of offensive tackle Todd Fordham, his teammates erupted with applause, hollering and towel waving.

But Hampton was hardly the lone star of the run. Alan Faneca and Chukky Okobi looked sharp running in their group, as did Kendall Simmons. In fact, all of the offensive linemen - save center Jeff Hartings, who didn't take part in the test for the third straight year because of a lingering knee injury - looked good running.

Aaron Smith, Drew Caylor and Brett Keisel looked good leading their group, while Jerome Bettis and fullback J.T. Wall led the charge for the medium-sized players. Bettis, however, was under constant scrutiny by head coach Bill Cowher for jumping the starting whistle.

"Let's just say Jerome's a cagey veteran," Cowher said with a grin.

In addition to Hartings, linebacker Joey Porter also did not run. Cowher said Porter felt a twinge in his groin when he got up in the morning and would be re-evaluated before Sunday's practice.

It's not considered anything serious.

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