Notebook: Hampton upgraded

PITTSBURGH – Casey Hampton was upgraded to probable after missing last Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Also, are the Steelers being watched too closely by game officials? And who's the new practice squadder?

Casey Hampton hadn't missed a game since 2004, when Chris Hoke replaced him for 10 games and the Pittsburgh Steelers won all 10. Hoke's regular-season winning streak came to an end Sunday in Oakland.

Hampton practiced for the second time this week and expects to play. It would give the Steelers their full complement of defensive starters for the first time in a month.

The only starter expected to miss Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos is center Jeff Hartings, who's been ruled out with an MCL sprain. Linebacker James Harrison, safety Mike Logan and receiver Willie Reid have also been ruled out.

The Broncos have 10 players on their injury report. All of them are probable for the game.

MARKED MEN

By virtue of their championship last season, the Steelers have found themselves to be marked men by opponents this season. But after coming off a game in which they were whistled for four personal fouls, they're wondering if they're marked men by officials, too.

"I think so," said linebacker James Farrior. "I think we've got a rough reputation with some people. But they're going to call what they're going to call and we shouldn't let that affect how we're going to play the game. We're going to play with the same passion, the same drive and do what we do. We've just got to cut down on the personal fouls and make sure we don't disrespect the referees."

If disrespecting the referee were a penalty, it would've been called on the Steelers last Sunday. Instead they were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on back-to-back plays. One was called on Larry Foote and the second was called on Joey Porter.

"Foote's call? I don't know what they were looking for on that one," Farrior said. "I saw two people talking to each other on that one, and the bad thing is Foote and [Oakland running back Justin] Fargas are best friends. They're going to talk trash to each other anyways just because they're friends. I didn't see it one-sided. And I don't know what happened on the second one. I heard some comments were made to the referee, or about the referee. That's how that went."

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE

After only one day of work since being re-signed to the practice squad, running back Cedric Humes was placed on the practice squad injury list with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Carey Davis, a 5-9, 226-pound fullback.

Davis caught 68 passes in two seasons at the University of Illinois. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie in 2004 and bounced around practice squads with the Colts, the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins released Davis in September when they signed Steelers castoff Patrick Cobbs.

Davis worked out for the team Tuesday, along with linebackers Marquis Cooper, Monty Beisel and Nick Spreegle. The Steelers signed Cooper to their active roster on Tuesday.


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