|Weighty matters still a problem, so Hampton sits|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 04 August 2008 10:03|
Hampton, the four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle, remained on the sidelines Monday as the Pittsburgh Steelers began their second week of training camp. Hampton isn't hurting and there's no contractual issue, but coach Mike Tomlin still isn't ready to let him onto the practice field.
During a time when NFL linemen who don't weigh at least 300 pounds are becoming scarce, and being in the 350-pound range isn't uncommon, Hampton is being punished by the Steelers for what now is a seldom-seen violation: weighing too much.
Hampton reported to camp on July 27 far above the weight preferred by Tomlin and, until Hampton gets into better shape, he won't practice. If he's being told what he must weigh before he can play, Hampton isn't saying.
Hampton claimed Monday he isn't sure what he weighs, though it appears to be far more than the 325 pounds listed on the Steelers' roster.
``I ain't got on the scale. I don't really get on the scale, that's not my thing,'' Hampton said. ``I play ball.''
Right now, he isn't playing. Tomlin hasn't weighed in on when Hampton will return, though it seems unlikely Hampton will get many snaps during the Steelers' four preseason games, beginning Friday night against Philadelphia.
So, while his teammates practice, Hampton does conditioning drills by himself on an adjacent field. The workout appears to be designed to get Hampton into shape, rather than causing him to lose a large amount of weight.
``Just a little conditioning, a little running around, get my legs right,'' Hampton said. ``I don't think it's about weight, I can play heavy. It's just getting in shape. I'm trying to get right, get ready for Sept. 7. That's my main goal.''
Hampton has had weight problems his entire career, but this is the first time the Steelers have punished him by putting him on the physically unable to perform list. Also sidelined is safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring); left guard Chris Kemoeatu (triceps) returned to practice Monday.
``I can play any time,'' Hampton said. ``That's coach's decision when he wants me back out there, but I always feel like I can play.''
With Hampton out, Chris Hoke is filling in with the starters, though he knows that won't last. This is Hoke's eighth season with Pittsburgh, and he started regularly only after Hampton injured a knee in the sixth game of 2004 and didn't return until the following season.
``He'll be ready to go in no time,'' Hoke said. ``He's going to come out there and, you watch, he's going to make a splash when he gets going again. Casey's a freak, the guy goes out there, he can weigh whatever he weighs - I don't want to throw out a weight - and he's still quick as can be, he still can move.''
As for Hampton's claim he doesn't own any scales, Hoke, said, laughing, ``No, but there's a scale in the locker room.''
Notes: To WR Hines Ward, QB Brett Favre's return can't be anything but a major distraction for the Packers. Ward said, ``It's just a whole mess. You want to go, you want to retire, they want to move on and the next thing you know, he wants to come back. But for what he's done for that organization, he should have that right.'' ... Ward sat out one of the two practices Monday with a minor leg injury. ... QB Ben Roethlisberger was again limited by a sore groin, taking part in throwing drills but skipping others.