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Casey Hampton At Otas The Steelers Must Be Thrilled

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Casey Hampton at OTAs? The Steelers Must Be Thrilled

It’s been an up and down offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers. What’s been ‘up’ about it you ask? Well, before the Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes drama, the team re-signed a number of its key veterans and plugged other holes with veteran, inexpensive free agents. One of the key players they were able to retain was the irreplaceable and immovable Casey Hampton. The five time Pro Bowl nose tackle rewarded the Steelers for their investment and loyalty by showing up to OTAs for the first time in forever. And he was in noticeably incredible shape. Remember, this is the same guy who was banished to the Physically Unable to Perform list by Coach Tomlin two training camps ago for being so overweight.

Hampton joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to talk about how he even though he’s out there with the team for OTAs he’s still not excited about the process and would prefer to just get the season started, how he’s more than willing to help out the younger guys on the defensive line, on how he was relieved to extend his career with the Steelers, how the Big Ben situation hasn’t been a distraction in the slightest inside Pittsburgh’s locker room, how much longer he sees himself playing, and how Coach Tomlin asked his players to be smarter moving forward.

On if he’s excited to be back at mini-camps:

“Not really. You never look forward to going out there and running around without pads on. I’m more of a ready for the season type guy. No, it’s cool. It’s cool running around a little bit with your teammates, seeing the young guys learning and getting their feet wet. That’s the main thing I look forward to seeing at these camps.”

On if he’s the type of veteran who’s willing to help the younger guys:

“Oh I definitely help them out because I knew when I was young I was like a chicken running with my head cut off and guys helped me out. So I try to return the favor.”

On the relief of signing a multi-year contract to keep him in Pittsburgh:

“Always great. Always great to have a few more dollars in your pocket and doing the thing that you love. So I’m happy it got done, I’m happy to be here, and I couldn’t ask for nothing else.”

On if he and his agent thought the deal might not get done with Pittsburgh at any point in the process:

“I definitely wanted to be here, but if I had to go somewhere else, it definitely wouldn’t have been a problem. Because I know that’s the business, I know that’s how things go. But there’s no question I wanted to be here.”

On the struggles of the Steelers defense a year removed from their dominant performance in ‘08:

“I definitely don’t know where it came from, but we definitely got to get it corrected. We’ve got a lot of great veteran guys on this team, we’re going to get it done. It’s just something that you can’t put your finger on. It’s just guys trying to do too much and make too many plays, and that’s uncharacteristic of our defense. But I’m definitely not worried about it happening again.”

On how he’s feeling physically and on how much longer he sees himself playing:

“I’m going to stop playing when they stop cutting them checks. There’s no question about it. I love to play, I love this game, so I’m going to play ’till I can’t play no more.”

On if the offseason distractions are creating any sort of issues in the Steelers locker room:

“I don’t think it affects nobody. Everybody’s a man, everybody’s a professional. They know what the deal is. At the end of the day, things happen, and you just got to move forward. And I think that’s what guys are trying to do – put the past behind us and move forward.”

On Coach Tomlin’s message to the team when they met for the first time about staying out of trouble:

“We’ve just got to make better decisions. I think that’s the whole point that he was trying to make to us – guys just got to make better decisions, and put ourselves in better positions that we put ourselves in, and try to stay out of trouble. You see with ‘Tone leaving, with them trading ‘Tone – for a guy like that to get traded for a 5th round pick, that lets you know that they’re kind of tightening up around here a bit.”

On if the Steelers are the team to beat in the AFC North:

“It’s kind of tough to say that. We didn’t get it done last year, we’re not the division champs. But we’ll see this year, man. We’re always a tough team to beat, and I don’t see it being no different. Everybody can say what they want, but they know when we go out there who the team is, ain’t no question about it.”

 

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