Hampton Hits Wall, Keeps Running

<p>LATROBE - While this year's top pick made the Pittsburgh Steelers' run test look easy, last year's top pick labored heavily. Nose tackle Casey Hampton finished the series of 14 40-yard sprints, but not even close to the times required of his group. <br> <br>

"It was tough. All running tests are," said Hampton. "For a big dude, running's never fun". Hampton felt he hit the proverbial wall on the ninth sprint, but pushed through with the coaxing of his position coach John Mitchell and teammates. 

"The key was that he finished," said Dewayne Washington. "I told him it starts and ends with him. He's right there in the middle and we've got to have him hold up for 16 games."

Hampton is coming off an outstanding rookie season, but minor surgery on his ankle last winter hampered his conditioning and his weight ballooned to 340 pounds. He was down to 331 by the end of minicamp and was instructed to lose another 12 pounds by training camp.

"I'm close. I'm around that," Hampton said. When pressed for his precise weight, he only added "I'm good. I'm not worried about it. I'm close."

Sources with the team aren't worried either. In fact, those who watched his individual cut-ups from last season are raving about his play, but Hampton remains low-key.

"We'll see," he said. "To me, last year was a learning process because I wasn't used to two-gapping and things like that. And as the season went on I got tired and wore down. So now I know what to expect. I know how to practice and how to play and I think that will help me out a lot more this year."


Steel City Insider Top Stories