When the Steelers told wide receiver Hines Ward that they didn’t have a place for him in the 2012 season, he chose to retire rather than sign on with a different team.
Defensive tackle Casey Hampton isn’t interested in going that route. Hampton is the oldest player on the Steelers defense and he’s aware that the team might opt to move in a different direction at the position after the season. If they do, Hampton, who will be a free agent after the season, will try to keep his career going with another team. Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times reports that Hampton says he wants to play two more years regardless of what uniform he’s wearing when he does it.
“I definitely want to continue to play, and I definitely want to be here. But it’s a business,” Hampton said. “Whatever happens, happens. I don’t have any control of that. All I can control is what I do on the field.”
Hampton missed most of training camp after a knee injury in the playoffs last year, but he has started every game for the Steelers this season. Pittsburgh cut ties with a number of longtime contributors, including Ward, after the 2011 season and it is hard to see them changing course now that the team’s missed the playoffs this season. They can get younger and gain room under the cap by saying goodbye to Hampton, something that seems like a likely ending for his long run in the black and gold of the Steelers.