Hampton not afraid to speak mind

Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton couldn't have made many female friends today with his candid remark on the Ben Roethlisberger case, but he did provide insight on his conditioning, his contract status, and the play of new center Darnell Stapleton.

UNITY – Ben Roethlisberger stood up in front of the team Thursday night and apologized that the civil suit filed against him had become a team distraction.

His team, in the person of Casey Hampton, said Ben needn't have bothered.

"I don't think he had to because everyone knows what it is," Hampton said. "That (stuff), that's crazy. He didn't have to say anything. I know how the world is. I know how females are, so …"

Uh, oh. Big Hamp may have crossed the line with that remark, but the Steelers' nose tackle has become a revolutionary in more ways than one. Take the topic of his conditioning.

"I'm not big on working out all year around," Hampton said. "I have to give my body a rest. I rest it, get ready for camp, then use training camp to get ready for the season. It's too much, all that banging on my body, especially for the position I play. I'm not going to work out in March, April hard, hard, hard. Coaches say you should, but I don't think you win games then. That's just my opinion."

Hampton gave similar opinions last year at camp. His responses were fiery, or just as fiery as Coach Mike Tomlin's, who put "The Big Snack" on the PUP list because he was overweight. Hampton appeared to have reported in better shape this year, and even passed the run test. But he calls it all an illusion.

"I just felt like doing it," he said of the difference between this year's run test and last year's. And the appearance of having lost weight?

"Nobody never knows my weight. I can make it look good, make it look bad," he said. Hampton was told of a photo taken of him Thursday in which he appeared to have lost plenty of weight.

"Don't believe it," he said as he sucked in his gut. "I've been working on my abs."

Hampton apparently can afford to play the role of revolutionary. Team president Art Rooney told a reporter Thursday that there's no money left for contract extensions, so that would mean Hampton's left out in the cold.

"I don't worry about that kind of stuff. I just play," Hampton said. "If they ain't got none, they ain't got none. I can't do nothing about that. It's not something I have control of."

On the field yesterday, Hampton went up against Darnell Stapleton, a third-year player who played center in college but was forced to play right guard last year after Kendall Simmons went down. Stapleton has said he still considers himself a center at heart. Did Hampton care to make an honest assessment of Stapleton's performance in place of injured Justin Hartwig?

"He was good. I mean, he got a lot stronger," Hampton said. "Darnell always had the quickness and good hands and stuff like that, but I didn't think he was strong enough to play center. So, he got a little bit stronger."

Is center his natural position?

"No question. No question in my mind."

Just like he had no question about his friend Roethlisberger.

"I know Ben. I know he didn't do anything. I don't need to say nothing about it," Hampton said. "He handled it well (last night), but it's B.S."


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