Well, that didn’t take long.
A little more than twenty-four hours into the Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 training camp, two key members of the defense found themselves placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list. This means they are not officially part of the roster, not permitted to work out with the team, and if they remain on the list at the end of camp, they would not be allowed to play until the sixth game of the regular season.
NT Casey Hampton was placed on the list for basically being a fatass. Yes, shocking as it may seem, the player nicknamed “Big Snack” reported to camp a tad overweight. By a tad, I’m guessing about forty pounds. Get Dan Marino on the phone, pronto. Hook a brother up with some NutriSystem, Danny.
Hampton was unable to complete the first day running drills and Coach Mike Tomlin disgustedly booted him from practice until he’s in physically better shape. Hampton’s argument is running has nothing to do with playing football. Okay, big fella. Sorry to break it to you but part of the reason our run defense was repeatedly gashed during the tail end of last season probably had something to do with conditioning. I also hate to break it to you but despite making the Pro Bowl (when other players bowed out), you didn’t have that good a year. In prior seasons, Hampton was a force, making tackles, disrupting plays, and occasionally creating pressure up the middle. Last year, he mostly did nothing but occupy space.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, All-Pro Safety Troy Polamalu did complete the first day running drills. Unfortunately, this lead to him spending the next day with his leg wrapped like an extra from the next Mummy movie. Polamalu, who is the highest paid defensive player in Steeler history, had an injury-riddled year in 2007. From a partial PCL tear to an abdominal strain, his play suffered greatly while he battled injury after injury. Yes, he was named to the Pro Bowl but it was an undeserved honor based mainly on reputation as Polamalu will be the first to admit he didn’t have the interceptions, quarterback pressures/sacks, or general level of play which is expected of him.
Amazingly, despite injuries to key players, the Steelers still had the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. This is a bit misleading, though, as after DE Aaron Smith went down, our run defense which hadn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher in like two years allowed two 100 yard rushers in the same game. And our pass defense, despite having perhaps the best trio of cover corners in the league, simply didn’t create any turnovers.
For Blitzburgh to reverse both those trends in 2008, Hampton and Polamalu will need to work through their issues and be physically ready to go by week one. With the slate of offenses we’re scheduled to face this season, we’re going to need them.
Tags: 2008 Season Aaron Smith Afc Big Snack Blitzburgh Casey Hampton Dan Marino Fat Boy Fatass Fly Fatass Fly Hair Hampton Jacksonville Marino Mike Tomlin Mummy Dragon Emperor Mummy Movie Nfc NFL Nutri System Nutrisystem Pittsburgh Polamalu Run Fatboy Run Smith Steelers Tomlin Training Camp Troy Polamalu Weight Loss