Victor Hampton is getting his chance to play professional football in 2014.
Hampton signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday after working out for the team.
"Home sweet home been along time coming kept the faith kept grinding now time to work what it do #BengalsNation," Hampton said on his Instagram account while wearing a Bengals hat and signing paperwork.
Hampton decided to forego his senior season at South Carolina and turn pro early but did not get selected in May's NFL Draft.
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He was told by the NFL’s underclassman advisory committee that he would be selected in the second or third round of the draft, and his agents at Relativity Sports were equally certain he would be drafted, he said. ESPN analyst Todd McShay graded Hampton “a fourth- or fifth-round” pick.
After working long and hard, emphasis perhaps on the long, to put a checkered past behind him – and mostly succeeding in his final season with the team, according to Steve Spurrier – Hampton found himself in the wrong kind of headlines again during the draft process.
First, he was wanted for questioning about an April assault at a New York City nightclub. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case, but he feels like the two weeks the issue took to be handled cost him. He also knows being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after an argument with his sister in April was a bad look.
Despite his missteps, Hampton started 22 games in his final two seasons at South Carolina and had 91 tackles, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions in that time. He was also reported to have a workout scheduled with the New York Giants later this week.
Former teammate Kelcy Quarles, who also expected to be drafted, was not selected but found a home with the Giants through a free agent contract.