Steelers linebacker Vince Williams is wearing No. 98, gives respect to Casey Hampton

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

A rookie who knows his place is a wise rookie. But Vince Williams is smart enough to give a nod of respect to the outstanding career of former Steelers NT Casey Hampton. Williams will wear Hampton's No. 98 when the Steelers take on the Titans Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Lost in the mix of who was cut and where and why was the quiet story of the loud hitter.

Steelers' sixth-round pick Vince Williams made the team over fifth-round pick Terry Hawthorne. Perhaps that's an unfair comparison, but it illustrates the less-audible splash Williams has made since the draft.

Before it, we heard incredibly loud hits.

Now, it's a quiet approach to his rookie season, accentuated with the "right" kind of humility for a first-year guy.

Williams will wear Hampton's No. 98 when the Steelers take on the Titans Sunday at Heinz Field. While most reasonably-minded fans would agree the 250-pound Williams would struggle at nose tackle, the position of Steelers great Casey Hampton. The point is more along the lines that Williams is aware of who he is, and is willing to pay his respects to Big Snack in a public way.

He's not referring to him as his buddy, or as a fan. He does it as a player who respects one of the legends of the organization.

It'd be a lot to ask Williams to even do half of what Hampton accomplished in his career (which could wind up with an induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame). The fact he takes the time to recognize him and set a humble goal for himself seems to fit in line with the Steelers' mantra.

Williams making the team was something of a surprise, but a good one. Marshall McFadden was thought to be a lock to back up Lawrence Timmons and/or Larry Foote, but in the end, they gave the nod to Williams.

It seems Williams already has his eye on climbing another rung on the ladder.

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