Overweight Hampton sidelined after failed run test

LATROBE, Pa. -- Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton was placed on the physically unable to perform list Sunday after reporting to training camp overweight and failing to complete the Pittsburgh Steelers' annual run test.

Hampton, listed at 325 pounds but apparently much heavier, lagged 30 yards behind defensive end Brett Keisel during one of eight 100-yard sprints. Hampton completed only five.

"He's overweight and he's not conditioned enough to participate at this point," coach Mike Tomlin said.

There was no Kendrell Bell to bail Hampton out this time, either.

When a similarly out-of-shape Hampton couldn't complete several of the 14 40-yard sprints the Steelers ran when Bill Cowher was coach, Bell jumped in and ran two sprints for him in 2003. Hampton recovered to make the final run that summer, though Cowher was visibly displeased and held Hampton out of practice until he was in better shape.

Hampton won't be allowed to practice in this camp until he drops weight, and Tomlin suggested that will take more than a few days.

Hampton, starting his eighth NFL season, skipped the Steelers' optional team practices last spring to work out on his own. He explained Sunday that his absence was to take care of personal business and not because he had any issue with the team.

"I wasn't trying to make any statement," Hampton said.

Tomlin didn't like the one he made during the running test as Hampton was the only player who couldn't finish. Some players who attended a certain number of voluntary team workouts were allowed to skip the tests as a reward for their attendance.

"It's not about (missing the voluntary practices)," Tomlin said of Hampton. "It's about coming to camp ready to play football."

Star safety Troy Polamalu (hamstring) and left guard Chris Kemoeatu (triceps) also were placed on the physically unable to perform list, yet Polamalu still completed the running test. Polamalu was injured while working out on his own, and Kemoeatu -- All-Pro guard Alan Faneca's apparent replacement -- was hurt lifting weights in advance of camp. Neither injury is believed to be serious.

Hampton has had an ongoing battle with his weight since being a first-round draft pick in 2001, yet has made the last three Pro Bowls and has played in the NFL's annual all-star game in four of the last five seasons. Hampton also was chosen as the team's co-most valuable player in 2005.

Hampton's ability to stop the run is one of the keys to the Steelers' 3-4 defense.

Asked when Hampton will be in good enough shape to practice, Tomlin said, "I'll determine that."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.