"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."