Casey Hampton Super Bowl XLV Media Day Interview Transcript


QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS MEDIA DAY

NOSE TACKLE CASEY HAMPTON

(on if current Steelers are good enough to challenge the greatness of the championship Steelers teams of the 1970’s) “We’ve got to finish the task at hand. Those guys won a lot of Super Bowls and we’re nowhere close to them. We’ve got to win this game first before we can even be mentioned in the same breath as those guys.”

(on his level of concern with the abilities of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) “He’s a great player, but we’ve played against great quarterbacks before. At the end of the day, we don’t feel that our defense is about anyone else. It’s about what we do. If we go out there and perform up to our capabilities, we’ll be OK. He’s (Rodgers) tough. I compare him to Ben (Roethlisberger). Just like Ben, if he sees you coming, you’re not going to tackle him. You’ve got to stay in control and try to get him on the ground. If you come in out of control, he’s going to slip you and get away.”

(on whether having appeared in a previous Super Bowl gives Pittsburgh an advantage over Green Bay) “I don’t think so. Everybody out here has been playing football since they were a little kid. I don’t think this will be any different.”

(on playing in Cowboys Stadium) “Hey, at the end of the day, it’s just a stadium. It’s nice but it’s a stadium. All that hoopla is nice but once you get in between the lines, it’s football.”

(on how it feels to do his job well when he plays a position in the trenches that doesn’t get a lot of notoriety) “That’s what I do. And I get paid well to do it. I just go out there and try to help the team any way I can. That’s just what I do.”

(on if he still keeps in touch with people at the University of Texas) “I still keep in touch with them as much as possible. It was a fun time for me—a fun part of my life. I try to get back as much as I can to hang out with those guys and see the coaches. A lot of us go back all the time so we get to see those guys.”

(on what Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has meant to the team) “You really can’t describe it. The guy’s a genius. He puts you in a position to make plays and to do well. He’s just a great coach and a great person. He’s kind of a father figure to the guys. He’s just a real respected man.”

(on if this Super Bowl feels different than the one two years ago) “No, it never feels different. It always feels great. It always feels the same. You can’t describe it. It’s like when you come to do it all over again, it’s like the first time all over again.”

(on importance of Steelers DE Ziggy Hood in this Super Bowl) “He’s going to be important, but everybody’s going to be important. We’ve got to get pressure on him (Rodgers) and try to get to him as best we can. Any quarterback is great when you let him sit back there and pick you apart, but once you start hitting quarterbacks, that’s when you kind of make them do what you want them to do.”

(on how Hood has improved this season) “He’s gotten better. He’s a first-round pick so you expect him to improve and get better. With Aaron (Smith) going down, he’s stepped up and he’s played big for us.”

(on the identity of the unsung heroes of the Steelers’ defense) “I’d probably say (DE Brett) Keisel. I think Ziggy’s done a great job and so has (LB) Lawrence Timmons. Also (S) Ryan Clark. A lot of the guys that you don’t hear about are the guys who keep us together. That’s why I think that this team and this defense are so good because guys aren’t selfish and don’t care about being in the limelight. They just go out there and play.”

(on what gets more attention in the locker room, S Troy Polamalu’s hair or DE Brett Keisel’s beard) “I’d say probably Keisel’s beard because it’s kind of a new thing. Troy’s hair is just Troy’s hair, but the beard is a new thing. He definitely gets more attention.”

(on if he has the ideal body for a nose tackle) “I guess. I don’t know what that type of ideal body is but I guess so. People say it so I guess so.”

(on his feelings about Media Day) “I don’t like it. I don’t like sitting in front of the cameras. I just want to play football. But you make the best out of your situation and come out here and have fun. You get to be around your teammates. It is what it is—you know what I mean?”

(on what his overall experience is like during Super Bowl week) “Anytime I’m out here with my teammates, it’s going to be good. We’re going to take the team picture. We’ve been clowning around in the locker room and having a good time. We come out here and deal with you guys (media) for about an hour or however long we’re going to be out here, and then we’re back to doing what we do.”

(on whether he prefers to wear black or white jerseys for the Super Bowl) “We’ve been winning in the white jerseys so the white jerseys have been good. Me personally, I like the black jerseys because I look like a complete and total mess in this white jersey. It kind of makes my stomach look a little bigger. It’s cool, though. We won the last two in the white so I guess it’s good luck for us.”

(on if he has ever been uncomfortable with his size) “I knew at a young age that I would probably be a good football player. I’ve never been ashamed of my size. I’m a big dude. But I’m a smooth big guy. I’m not like a big fat big guy. I got some ‘swag’ to myself. You’ve got to have a little ‘swag’ and you’ve got to know how to carry it. I know how to do that.”

(on what the experience was like for Steelers players who went to Canton last summer to support defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s induction into Pro Football Hall of Fame) “That was a great experience, especially with it being Coach LeBeau and the type of person he is. It was a great experience to go down there and support him. We know for a fact that it meant the world to him having us be there. That was the main thing—supporting him and being there for him. If Coach LeBeau was going in, it was understood that we were going to be there.”

(on what NFL team he rooted for while growing up near Houston) “I was an Oilers fan. I never liked the Cowboys. Everybody I knew was a Cowboys fan and I never got into liking the Cowboys at all.”

(on if he has ever played in the new Cowboys Stadium) “I played in the old stadium once and I tore my ACL, so that made me hate it even worse.”

(on being from Texas and having family come to Sunday’s game) “For me, this is a great opportunity for my family to come to see me play with it being so close. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to come to this stadium and see a Super Bowl. So that’s going to be big for me.”

(on how much the continuity of the Steelers defense from their last Super Bowl appearance has helped this team) “It means a lot because guys who’ve been there know what it takes. We’ve got a veteran defense so our guys know how to play, and they know how to play together. So I think that’s going to be an advantage for us as it always is. We’re always a great defense year-in and year-out. I think that’s because of the guys who’ve been here for such a long time who know how to play together.”

(on how Steelers are able to keep their defense together) “Why would you want to leave when we win all the time? We’ve got a great team, great owners and a great organization. It’s fun to be around. All of the guys are like brothers. There’s always a family-type atmosphere. It’s always a good time when you’re around your teammates.”

(on if his play in the AFC Championship Game was as well as he’s played) “I played well. Me personally, if we don’t watch the film as a team, then I don’t watch it. So I haven’t even seen that game, to be honest with you. I’m not a big guy in judging myself and seeing how well I did. After the game is over, if I played good, I played good. If I didn’t, I move on.”

(on how it feels to be back in his home state of Texas) “It feels great. It’s a headache from the standpoint of my family wanting tickets and stuff like that. But that’s a good problem to have. I’ll take that problem all day long. I’ll just say I have quite a few tickets. I’m not putting any numbers out there because I don’t want anybody to know how many tickets I got so they can’t be mad if they didn’t get one.”

(on what makes the camaraderie on this team so special) “Guys are usually drafted to this team. We don’t get a lot of free agents in Pittsburgh. I think guys are raised in this system, and we’re around here for such a long period of time that you can’t help but like each other. You’re taught to practice and play a certain way, and I think that’s what makes us close.”

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