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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- Recently we caught up with Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke to discuss, among other things, his now famous dance and his big assignment this week filling in for the injured Casey Hampton.
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|Chris Hoke has some big shoes to fill in replacing Casey Hampton against the Ravens this week.|
1. Chris, I noticed your 'Hoke' dance in training camp was quite the rage. How did that come about?
Chris Hoke: [Laughs.] Before coach [Mike] Tomlin came in, we never did the clapping stuff that we do before practices. So we starting doing that, and one day we just kept clapping and I starting doing a little [dance]. Later it turned into the Russian dance and guys liked it. It got everyone a little fired up and excited. So I started doing that in spring ball and in training camp every once in a while to get the troops fired up.
2. Are you the best dancer on the team?
CH: Me? Of course. No, there are a lot of good dancers on the team. I would have to say Casey Hampton [laughs].
3. Really? Speaking of Hampton, he has an injured groin this week. What are your thoughts of replacing him in the starting lineup against the Baltimore Ravens?
CH: Casey is not going to be out for a long time. So my mentality is to go in and make sure I execute, make sure that I go out and help the defense play well and help the team win. I'm filling in for some big shoes. Hampton is a great player, one of the best nose tackles in the league. So I've got to make sure that I go in there and not try to be Casey Hampton. I have to just go in there and be Chris Hoke, and try to control the center and the line of scrimmage.
4. How has it been to spend your entire career in Pittsburgh thus far?
CH: It's unbelievable. I've been here eight years and I can't imagine myself going somewhere else or playing somewhere else. It's the city, the fans, the ownership, the organization, and all the way down to the players. When new players come in from other teams, you kind of hear their horror stories of what it's like from other teams. I know every team isn't like that, but we think we have it good here.
5. Why do the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens not like each other very much?
CH: When I first got here eight years ago, that's when I think it first started. We were a good team and they were a very, very good team. They won a Super Bowl back in 2000, so it was one of those things where we went back-and-forth over the years and it was a big, old battle. I don't know if it's hatred, but it's a mutual respect for each other's games. They know that we're a good team and we know they're always a good team. So when we're out on that football field, it might look like hatred because there's a lot of talking on the field. But afterwards it's always one of those things where we shake hands and say, "We'll see you next game."