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MIKE NIETO: Former Thornton star to coach with Colts
StoryDiscussionMIKE NIETO: Former Thornton star to coach with Colts
By Mike Nieto Times Columnist nwitimes.com | Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:00 pm | No Comments Posted

Font Sizeefault font sizeLarger font size.HARVEY | Former Thornton and Northern Illinois football star Jermaine Hampton would like to see the NFL lockout end soon.

Though he is no longer playing in the league, Hampton is excited about an opportunity: He has a coaching internship with the Indianapolis Colts.

Hampton played two years with the Colts, the last being in 2002.

"Right now, I am locked out," Hampton said last week at the McLegends basketball game at Thornton High School. "I don't know what is going to happen, but when the lockout is over, I am ready to go down to Indianapolis and start my internship."

Hampton has been a sophomore-level coach at Thornton, and Wildcats head Bill Mosel said this is a great opportunity for Hampton.

"Jermaine deserves it," Mosel said. "He really wants to coach, and I think he will learn a lot with the Colts and I think he has a lot to offer. I know he is real excited about the opportunity to coach in the pros."

Hampton said he will be like a sponge and absorb all he can from Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and his staff.

"It is a tremendous opportunity to work with some great coaches and to work in the NFL," Hampton said. "I am looking forward to learning from Coach Caldwell and his staff. They are very knowledgeable about the game and I plan on learning as much as I can from them."

Hampton shed some light last week on the current labor situation and said it comes down to money. He said if the owners would put a cap on rookies' salaries and take the cap off those of veterans, that would get things rolling.

"Make those contracts guaranteed because if you get hurt, you lose money," Hampton said. "I know because when I got hurt, I lost a lot of money -- several (hundreds) of thousands. I still got paid, but not as much.

"If the owners would do that, they can pretty much have what they want."

Hampton has battled some back problems, which often develop in athletes who constantly have to deliver and absorb hits. He played a few years of indoor football, including two seasons with the Chicago Slaughter, when they were members of the Continental Indoor Football League.

Having a chance to work in the NFL and with a top organization like the Colts is a great opportunity for him.

Like other Thornton players who went on to the pros or found success in different career fields, Hampton has not forgotten his local roots. Mosel will lose a good coach who worked with players on the lower levels, but Hampton's football savvy and work ethic will make him a plus to the Colts.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.