Hampton, who will be 36 next month, has spent his entire 12 year career in Pittsburgh after being taken in the first-round of the 2001 NFL draft. The decision to part ways with Hampton is due to the team wanting to inject some youth into their defensive line with the hope of being able to generate a better interior pass-rush next season.
In house options could include either Steve McLendon or Alameda Ta’amu. Due to his strength, Dulac even suggests converting DE Ziggy Hood to nose tackle. The favorite would be McLendon, who was given Hampton’s own stamp of approval after considering him as ready for the starting role.
Hampton has said that he felt so good this season, having played all 16 games for only the third time in his career, that he plans to play another year, but it remains to be seen whether that will be for another NFL team or the Steelers.