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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

A note on Dan Hampton

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It seems that my use of the word "minor" in the way of describing this controversy has a few readers upset. I removed it because I think it was taken out of context; I was not describing Hurricane Katrina as "minor" but rather people's reaction to a story that likely will go away with time. And as for the signs at the NFC title game, I simply did not see them. I was not questioning their validity. I think in the same way that we can say that a few classless individuals at the Bears-Saints game years ago do not represent the entire city of Chicago, one comment does not represent Dan Hampton. He has done the show for several years now, and as far as I know, he has not said anything that has been received this poorly before.

I wanted to address the controversy regarding Pro Football Weekly TV host Dan Hampton's comments on this week's TV show.

I can tell you this for certain: Hampton meant no harm when he said the Vikings "need to go down there and hit that town like Katrina."

I have worked with Hampton a few times on the show, filling in for my boss, Hub Arkush. Hampton speaks from the heart and believes what he says, but what he does not do is script his lines and certainly not with a malicious intent.

That portion of the show, where the guys go game by game and make their picks, has a loose, unscripted feel.

Without having spoken to him, I am sure Hamp regrets what he said. But I am pretty positive he did not mean harm by it.

He's a tough Southern guy and is in the Hall of Fame for his marvelous career with the Bears as one of the best defensive players of the 1980s and early '90s. He has a great sense of humor and he knows his football. Some of the best sessions with Hampton, Tom Waddle and host Pat Boyle come backstage when the cameras are off.

I know that some (many) might take offense to what he said, but I can tell you for sure that Hampton didn't write this line with the idea that it would be a zinger. In fact, I am pretty sure he didn't even write it; it probably popped into his head as he was talking.

Anyone who has done TV knows how tough it is to speak quickly, clearly and memorably in front of the cameras, and everyone who does it says something at some point that they regret.

It was a poor choice of words, but most definitely not a malicious one.

There is a mild undercurrent with this story, too. I have heard from more than one Saints fan who thought that some Bears fans were rude when they held up Katrina signs at the 2006 NFC championship game in Chicago. Many Saints fans who made the trip were upset, though I must say that I saw none of those signs and I was there. Of course, I was in the press box and not the stands.

Although Hampton spent his entire career with the Bears, it seems a bit ludicrous that he would align himself with those fans who might have made those tasteless comments. Simply put, this was a mistake, and one that did not have intent.

I am betting he feels pretty badly about this and I doubt we'll hear much more about this after a few days. I also doubt Hampton will say anything that stirs people up like this again, other than his hard-hitting commentary that makes the show a winner.

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