Rash of injuries don't discourage Jewel Hampton

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It would seem a fitting device to wear considering the last few seasons.

That doesn't mean Jewel Hampton has to like it.

"I definitely do get sick of being injured," said the former Warren Central running back as he sat down at one of the tables in the press area of the NFL Combine on Friday.

As if to add insult to his injuries, Hampton walked into the biggest trails of his life sporting a white boot on his left foot. It's there because of a hit that occurred during his second stop of his college career at Southern Illinois, leaving a bone bruise on the ankle that was not the first of his troubles since 2008.

"Particularly because I'd never been injured this many times in my life," said Hampton at his frustration of dealing with the various ailments over the years.

Following an injury free four years at Warren Central, where he helped the program to a trio of state championships, Hampton burst onto the scene at Iowa as the backup to future NFL running back Shonn Green.

He finished his freshman season of 2008 with a school freshman-record seven rushing touchdowns along with 493 yards. Hampton's average of 5.1 yards a carry indicated a bright future in Iowa City until the injury bug crept in.

The running back tore the ACL in his right knee during pre-season workouts in 2009, keeping him out for the entire season. Nearly the same scenario played out in 2010, only this time it was his left knee which suffered the ACL injury and again cost him another year.

"Its unfortunate that it had to happen in my college career," said Hampton of the injuries. "But I have to be resilient."

Hampton showed this characteristic when he decided to leave Iowa for Southern Illinois before the 2011 season in his hopes of a fresh start. He showed his potential in 11 games for the Salukis, rushing for 1,157 yards and 17 touchdowns with an average of 4.9 yards a carry.

"I wish I could have done more," admitted Hampton of his one season in Carbondale, Ill. "I definitely feel I could have done more for the team. But, you know, it is what it is. So I took away a great experience in Carbondale and a great experience from the school."

Following that season he also carried with him an injured left ankle, one that will limit him to just the bench press during the weekend combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Still Hampton will have a chance to impress the scouts at Southern Illinois' own pro timing day and show that the injuries might be an issue in his collegiate career only.

"I'll come here and be myself," said Hampton of his goal for the combine.

At the same time he'll hope that shines more than shiny boot on his left foot.

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