Notebook: Hampton hot at Atlanta's dirty bird

The "Big Snack" is furious at the Atlanta Falcons and Tyson Clabo in particular. Also, Hines Ward talks about his penalty; Jeff Reed talks about the big finish that wasn't; and Joey Porter talks about his return to practice.

PITTSBURGH – Casey Hampton stewed on the sidelines Wednesday, and not because he missed practice with a hamstring injury.

The normally mild-mannered Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle was upset about the dirty tactics employed by the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line. One play in particular enraged Hampton.

"That was very dirty," he said after using a stream of expletives. "I'm [peeved] off, too."

Hampton was chasing a receiver into the flat area near the sideline Sunday when Falcons guard Tyson Clabo jumped on the back of his legs from behind. A surprised Hampton hopped back up and at the line growled at Clabo, who was making his first NFL start.

"I can't tell you what I told him, but it was all dirty, man, dirty as hell," Hampton said. "That's like you don't have no respect for the game. You're just out there trying to hurt somebody and I'm out there trying to make a living. I was real, real mad, and I let him know I was real mad, too."

What did Clabo say?

"Nothing," Hampton said. "What IS he going to say? He can't block nobody. He ain't blocking nobody. He's out there just being dirty."

The hit didn't cause Hampton's injury. He injured his hamstring later in the game and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Oakland. Hampton was asked if he'd like to see the Falcons and Clabo again this season.

"That's the kind of stuff where you say, I want to see you in the street, because it's more like you're really trying to hurt me," he said. "There's nothing on the field that I can do to you without getting fined or something.

"I take that personally more than anything else if you're going for the back of my legs. It's one thing when I'm engaged and you're coming down and you're chop-blocking me. You're basically saying you can't block me anyway. I can accept that. That's dirty but I can accept that because you're telling me you can't block me and I understand you can't block me. But when you're coming out here in the game and throw down at the back of my legs, now you're trying to hurt me. That's how I feel about that."


Hines Ward cost his team 15 yards Sunday when he joined Nate Washington in a touchdown dance after Coach Bill Cowher had promised earlier in the season that a similar unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would not happen again. Ward expressed regret Wednesday.

"I just got caught up in the moment," he said. "I felt bad when I did it. I mean, I saw Nate and I don't know how to dance. It was just great for us to go down the field right before half on an 80-yard drive. Sean Morey got a catch; Nate got a catch; I got a catch; Santonio [Holmes] had a catch; we all helped contribute. And me, to see the wide receiver corps evolve the way we've evolved the last couple weeks, I got excited about it. I mean, we all got into it. I apologized to coach. I mean, that's uncalled for. But was it planned? No. We were just going off emotions. We went up 17-7 right before half. Then they got the penalty on the kickoff and the guy ran a great kickoff return. Luckily, Potsy [James Farrior] saved us. He came up with a huge interception. That penalty didn't lose the game for us. It didn't cost anything. I mean, was it stupid? Probably so, but I got caught up in the moment. That's a part of football. For a person who never dances, I was just happy that we all helped contribute to a drive down the field to help us get a touchdown right before half."

Ward said that Cowher talked to him about it. Did Cowher come down hard on him?

"He said some things. You know, with veteran guys you don't have to say some stuff. He said some things. I won't do it again, trust me."


Jeff Reed said he was prepared to kick even a 57-yard field goal to win the game in Atlanta before the penalty on Washington erased the eight remaining seconds and nixed the opportunity.

"I hit a 60 in warmups and it was comfortable," Reed said. "I was more than ready to kick that one. It was one of those freak rules though."

Reed had boomed a kickoff into the end zone a few moments earlier. The ball was returned to the 18-yard line. His kickoff to start overtime also traveled into the end zone at the Georgia Dome.

"I didn't miss in warmups," he said. "I was right down the middle on everything." Did he think Cowher should've saved a timeout rather than use two to "freeze" Atlanta's kicker a moment earlier?

"No, not really," Reed said. "In that situation you play for the present. It's nice to think about playing for the future but you play for the present. I think it was fine what we did."


After missing two games with a hamstring injury, linebacker Joey Porter returned to practice Wednesday and said, "It feels better than it did yesterday. Today's the best it's felt since I hurt it." Porter is questionable for Sunday's game.

Missing practice along with Roethlisberger and Hampton were WR Willie Reid (foot/out), S Mike Logan (hamstring/out), LB James Harrison (ankle/out), WR Cedrick Wilson (groin/questionable), LB Clark Haggans (ankle/questionable) and RB Duce Staley (personal reasons).

To help with the injury problem at linebacker, the Steelers re-signed Justin Kurpeikis to the practice squad.

The Oakland Raiders' injury list includes QB Aaron Brooks (doubtful/right shoulder), RB LaMont Jordan (questionable/back), RB Justin Fargas (probable/shoulder), CB Fabian Washington (probable/hamstring) and TE Randal Williams (probable/quadricep).

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