Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defense end Brett Keisel (99) linebacker Larry Foote (50) nose tackle Casey Hampton (98) defensive end Ziggy Hood (96) against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Casey Hampton reportedly won't be back with Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert noted last week that there could be a lot of changes on the Steelers roster for the 2013 season.

It looks as if nose tackle Casey Hampton could be the first casualty.

November 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton (98) takes the field to begin the game against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Baltimore Ravens won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hampton is 35 years old and an unrestricted free agent and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hampton is not expected to be re-signed. Gerry Dulac notes that the team is expected to use a combination of  Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, and Alameda Ta’amu to replace Hampton on the nose.

The Steelers 2001 first-round pick had some good moments in 2012 and did start all 16 games, but there were signs of Hampton beginning to slow down. Given the disappointing season and the Steelers salary cap situation, it makes a lot of sense for the organization and Hampton to part ways.

The need to get younger up front is also there.

The Steelers used first round picks on booth Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward in recent years, now the two youngsters must step up and perform.

Just two years ago, Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau called the defensive line of Hampton, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel the best defensive line he ever coached. In a year’s time, Smith retired and Hampton likely won’t be brought back. Keisel is also up there in age, so it is quite possible within the next couple years, the Steelers will have a totally different look up front.

Hampton said in December that he wanted to play two more years, but they likely won’t be in a Steelers uniform.

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