With the world ending in 2012, strange things are beginning to happen now.
Perhaps one of the strangest, outside of the Broncos trading up to get Tim Tebow in the first round, is the fact that there’s been multiple Casey Hampton sightings.
I know what you’re thinking; he weighs 325 lbs. It’d be stranger for someone to NOT see him.
But, the thing is that for the first time in years, Hampton’s showing up at the team’s practice facility to get in shape prior to training camp. He’s even showing up early and staying late.
Impending doom must have that effect on people—they want to put their best foot forward and (no pun intended) go out with a bang.
In Hampton’s words, he’s doing it because he’s aging and wants to set a good example for the young guns, more than likely ultimately trying to instill a work ethic into his future replacement. There are no hints as to who that is, but anytime we can get Hampton into shape before camp officially starts, that means less time we have to waste whipping him into shape on an adjacent field.
Part of what is driving him to work so hard is that he’s hungry (ok, that one was possibly intended) to return to the Steelers' winning ways after missing the playoffs and seeing pivotal defensive players go down for the year.
Hampton has played every snap of his NFL career with the Steelers and knows full well what is expected of not only himself but from the team as a whole. Simply making it into the playoffs is nice and all, but all that matters in Pittsburgh are rings.
It’s a tradition that’s been built around success.
The best part is that now the man who holds down what is perhaps the most important position in the 3-4 defense is working harder than ever to make that success happen.
With an in-shape Hampton in the middle, the Steelers' defense will be even better, especially when you pair that with the return of Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith after sitting out the majority of the season last year.
The team and Hampton have a big (so many puns, so little time) task ahead of them this coming season, but if anyone is used to adversity and overcoming that adversity—it’s the men who wear the black and gold.