Casey at bat

The Super Bowl XL media throng descended on the Steelers' Casey Hampton Monday, and as usual the big nosetackle dominated the point.


On coming back from knee injury:
"I knew what type of team we had last year, and when I got hurt, it was very hard not to be a part of that. I thought we'd be good again this year, so coming back for me was very important. I felt I was back from the injury about midseason. Early on, I struggled. It was like I was playing on one knee. I babied it a little. I never panicked. I knew I was getting better each week. I knew it was going to take awhile."

On enjoying a special season: back from injury, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl:
"Everything is falling into place for me. This is a good time for me. It's all kind of funny."

On stopping Shaun Alexander:
"It's not going to take some super-human effort. Obviously, everybody has to do their job and do what they got to do. I'm confident in our defense, and, if we play the way we can, we can get the job done. We don't have to have one person do something extraordinary. It's going to take all of us doing our jobs, and taking care of what we have to take care of (as individuals). If we do that, we'll do a good job. Alexander makes a lot of big runs and we have to be prepared to stop that. He can make something out of nothing, especially on the cutbacks."

On three Seahawks offensive linemen being named to the Pro Bowl:
"They're good players. Man, they're good if they're going to the Pro Bowl. I also think we have good players on our side of the ball, too. Our defensive line is good, and this is going to be a great match-up."

On having large following of Steelers fans in Mexico:
"Keep those ‘Terrible Towels' waving. Cheers on, we're going to give you all that we can give you."

On wearing Jerome Bettis' Notre Dame No. 6 jersey to the press conference:
"Jerome's our guy. It wasn't even his idea to do it. We support Jerome, and we did all we could to get him back to end his career here. That's the type of team we have. We're very close. There's no ‘me guys' on the team. We all support each other."

On when he'll wear his Texas jersey:
"I'm not a Jerome. I'm not at the level he's at. He's at a different level. He's a future Hall of Famer. He's coming back home. That's what he asked us before the last game – to bring him home. That touched us. We all thought about it. That's what we'd fight for."

On Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau:
"He means a lot to us. He lets us come at teams in a lot of different ways. We kind of got away from that when Coach (Tim) Lewis was here. We didn't blitz like we had in the past. I think LeBeau brought the blitz back. He's going to blitz and come at you in so many different ways with all kinds of schemes. You don't know where the blitz is coming from, and that helps. That's when we play our best – when we're blitzing."

On the Steeler offense:
"Our offense is playing great. They're running the ball well. They're holding the ball so that we're on the field less. They're eating up the clock. You look at most great defenses, they're with an offense that can run the ball."

On being the favorite:
"Some people say we're going to win, and some people say we're going to lose. That doesn't matter in the locker room. We know what we have. They've only lost three games. We don't worry about what people say. We worry about us. We feel like if we do everything we're supposed to do, we'll be good. We've been playing like we're in the playoffs since the last month of the season. We had to win. We've been playing playoff football for the last two months. We've been playing at a high level for a long time, and it has been us against the world."

On making plays sideline to sideline:
"On a lot of plays I have to hold my ground at the point of attack, and I don't get the opportunity to go side to side. But, I can do that when they give me that opportunity, and I know I can make plays when they let me do that. It's not that often. My role is to keep the linemen off my linebackers. That's what I do most of the time. In this defense, you have to do your role and be unselfish for us to succeed. That's what I try to do. The coaches do trust me and let me get up field sometimes."

On playing the "34 defense":
"The problem it causes is that you don't know where the pressure is coming from. The linebackers can be dropping or coming. Troy (Polamalu) is up in the box all the time. Plus, he can get all the way to the back (of the defense) even when he starts at the line of scrimmage. We cause other problems because a lot of us are interchangeable. You have to figure out who is coming and who is in coverage. I even drop back and cover sometimes. We do so many things, which is why we cause so many problems."

On his leadership role:
"I've always seen myself as a little bit of a leader. I do it by example. That's why guys on this team respect me, because they see I work hard and take care of my business. I'm not a rah-rah guy. I leave that to other guys. Like I said, mine is by example. I do what I'm supposed to do, and that's why some guys look up to me."

On stopping Matt Hasselbeck:
"I noticed that when he's going down, he's still looking for receivers. He's always trying to throw the ball. That could be a good and bad thing. When he's trying to make plays, that gives us a chance to make a play too. Hopefully, we can get to him and get him to the ground."

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