View Full Version : Rough patch for Batch

08-19-2008, 03:22 AM
Rough patch for Batch
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:31 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH — Charlie Batch knows his future with the Steelers is in limbo.

Due to a broken collarbone suffered in an Aug. 8 preseason game, three things can happen to the veteran quarterback.

One: He can be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.

Two: He can agree to an injury settlement and be cut.

Three: The Steelers can keep him on the active roster.

“Looking at those scenarios, anything is possible,” said Batch, who had a metal plate screwed to his collarbone during an operation last week.

“But there’s time before they have to make that decision. So those questions will be answered in a couple of weeks.”

Like all NFL teams, the Steelers must set their 53-man opening-day rosters by Aug. 30.

For now, Batch just hopes to heal as quickly as possible. Today, he begins the rehabilitation process. Typically, it takes four-to-six weeks for a broken collarbone to heal. But when a 33-year-old quarterback fractures the collarbone on his right throwing side, well, the recovery period could be longer.

“We’ll just have to wait until the bone heals,” said Batch, whose right arm is in sling. “I’m a quarterback, and I have to be able to throw the ball and get that flexibility back.”

Currently, the Steelers have five quarterbacks: starter Ben Roethlisberger; backup Byron Leftwich, who was signed after Batch was hurt; rookie Dennis Dixon, a fifth-round draft pick; Mike Potts, an undrafted rookie free agent; and Batch.

The Steelers will probably keep three: Roethlisberger, Leftwich and Dixon, who would likely be snatched away if placed on the practice squad.

But would the Steelers dare waste a roster spot for a few weeks early in the season as Batch heals? Probably not.

“Sure, there’s a threat,” Batch said, aware that Leftwich’s arrival could end his stay in Pittsburgh. “Any time you’re hurt, it’s a threat because another guy is taking your place. “I’m hurt, and they found a man to replace me. All I can do is worry about getting healthy.

Batch, a former WPIAL star who played at Steel Valley High School, prefers not to go on the IR. But for him, that would be better than getting cut.

“We’ll make that decision when we have to,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “There are a myriad of things that could happen between now and when we have to make that final roster cut. So it’s a pure waste of time to speculate.


Galax Steeler
08-19-2008, 03:50 AM
I hate to say it but I think Batches days in black and gold are done they will not hold a roster spot for him he has been a good player for us but his injury and age and the signing of Leftwich I would say he is done.

08-19-2008, 08:06 AM
I'd have to say out of the three choices, #'s 1 and 2 are most likely, with #1 being the most likely scenario.

One: He can be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.

Two: He can agree to an injury settlement and be cut.

Fractures of the collarbone are nasty injuries and in this case particularly with Charlie being a QB. It's great to see that Charlie obviously still wants to play but sadly he realizes that if he can't get that shoulder mobility back to where it was, he knows the Steelers need to do what they must.

08-19-2008, 09:31 AM
The only thing that concerns me in this entire scenerio is that we will probably be releasing a QB...either Batch or Leftwich...around the 5th game of the season that has an indepth knowledge of our playbook. Someone who likes to look for ways to bend the rules...lets say New England....might sign them for a week to pick their brain. Not that it hasn't happened before.......

I bet if it is Batch that is let go, he doesn't sell his soul to the first team that comes after him though.

08-19-2008, 10:06 AM
I think Batch still has a long future in football. He's a savvy guy who has the makings of an excellent coach, as a position coach with the possibility of being a head coach. The guy knows his game.

08-19-2008, 10:20 AM
I'm willing to bet Batch would be happy to go on IR rather than take his chances on the open market. That way, he's getting paid way more than he would otherwise, plus it gives us an insurance policy for the next season.

Leftwich is basically a one-year rental only. If he does anything other than flat-out suck, he'll want to compete for a starting job somewhere else, or at the very least he'll leave for some real money. If he does completely suck, we'll probably cut him anyway.

That would leave Dixon as the only backup QB with any experience with the Steelers. Hopefully he's ready by then, but with rookies at quarterback, you might as well flip a coin. But if we have the option to bring Batch back for another year, that gives us a bit of a safety net, eh?

08-19-2008, 10:25 AM
i don't see us getting rid of dixon b/c he will be snatched up... i think batch will go on ir so he won't be cut... but if he does get cut look at the ravens looking at him

08-19-2008, 10:33 AM
I admit when we chose DIxon I was befuddled. I actually thought he would be used as a receiver or return man. Now that pick looks pretty damn smart. Charlie was a great backup for us and earned every single penny, but due to his age and injury I don't see him back with the Steelers. I read a few of the Leftwich bashings and disagree with them. IMO he would be one of the best 2nd stringers in the NFL.

08-19-2008, 10:42 AM
Just keep Ben healthy....protect him in the pocket....no need the hassle for the second string....:tt::helmet::tt02::helmet::tt03:

08-19-2008, 10:54 AM
Leftwhich is only a one year backup. He is only 28 and will want to search for a team to contend for the starting spot. This is what makes this such a hard call.

08-19-2008, 11:09 AM
I dont think it is a big deal when it comes to what happens to batch because if he stays he will coach up Dixon and help out Ben, but if he goes, depending on what team he gets picked up by he could end up starting next season for a Bears type of team.

08-19-2008, 11:23 AM
He could always ask melwede moore for some compensation. the dude ran the wrong play leaving batch to improvise. he should have slid. instead he put his shoulder down to pick up some meaningless preseason yards. now its probally going to cost him what $800,000 when he gets cut?

08-19-2008, 11:35 AM
I say put him on IR... give him a year to heal and fully recover.

Then bring him in camp next year to compete with Dixon and others for the number 2 spot.

08-19-2008, 11:55 AM
I say put him on IR... give him a year to heal and fully recover.

Then bring him in camp next year to compete with Dixon and others for the number 2 spot.

I'm not 100 percent sure how it works, so correct me if I'm wrong ... but, if we place him on IR, he can't refuse the move or go elsewhere. We basically have the right to do whatever we want because we have him under contract, right? So that would guarantee that we get him back next season, but don't have to use a roster spot this season. Seems like the smart move to me.

08-19-2008, 12:57 PM
I'm impressed with Batch's comments and professionalism. While I'm sure he wants to remain a Steeler, he's taken the high road (unlike other QBs in this league that will remain nameless - brady).

While I believe his days in the uniform are numbered, he may prove valuable as a coach or some other aspect in the Steelers office.

Alva Lord
08-19-2008, 01:06 PM
I'm not 100 percent sure how it works, so correct me if I'm wrong ... but, if we place him on IR, he can't refuse the move or go elsewhere. We basically have the right to do whatever we want because we have him under contract, right? So that would guarantee that we get him back next season, but don't have to use a roster spot this season. Seems like the smart move to me.
If the Steelers place him on IR they also have to pay him his salary.

08-19-2008, 05:45 PM
If the Steelers place him on IR they also have to pay him his salary.

Well, yeah, but that shouldn't be a huge concern. Batch isn't making a fortune, and they got Leftwich for the veteran minimum. So I don't think they're going to ruin themselves either way.

It seems like it's more a matter of whether they think it's worth spending the money to keep Batch around for next year. If they didn't think he was worth something, they probably would have cut him or traded him already, is my guess.

08-19-2008, 08:04 PM
He could go play for Minnesota.

08-19-2008, 08:12 PM
it depends on what batch wants to do.. does he want to be cut and leave a great city/team or go on ir and poss retire at the end of the yr??

08-19-2008, 08:52 PM
Yep agree but looks like Batch's days are numbered as we cannot afford to loose Dixon or wait for Batch to heal. Stand up guy & solid backup who was not sensational but lead us to some key victories. Versus Brownstains and Pack from the Superbowl year pop into mind first....

08-20-2008, 06:43 AM
Charlie Batch may have played his last game as a Steeler

Charlie Batch was a near certainty to make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster heading into the 2008 season. Yes, the Steelers drafted quarterback Dennis Dixon in the fifth round of this year’s draft, but Dixon’s signing was certainly for the future. Batch, one of the better back-ups in the NFL, is 33, in the final year of his contract, and certainly wasn’t looked at as being a long-term answer for the Steelers behind Big Ben Roethlisberger. It was hoped that Dixon could be developed this year, and take over the mantle as Steelers’ back-up either in 2009, or 2010 at the latest.

Then Charlie Batch broke his collarbone, which set into motion a series of events that may likely cost Batch a spot on the team in 2009.

The Steelers immediately signed former first round pick and Jacksonville Jaguars’ starter, Byron Leftwich to a one-year, $645,000 deal, with only a $40,000 signing bonus. Leftwich is an old friend of Steelers’ starter Ben Roethlisberger, and word out of camp is that he’s already bringing some veteran intangibles to the table. Still, Batch would seemingly regain his job once he’d return.

That’s where it gets a bit complicated.

The Steelers originally believed that Batch could be back in four to six weeks, meaning that he would be back in a Steelers’ jersey early in the 2008 season. Reports out of camp, however, seem to be a lot less clear cut. The reports are varying between Batch coming back in six weeks all the way to Batch being out for the year. The Steelers’ back-up showed up at camp, and seemed just as in the dark about his future, noting that they really wouldn’t have any answers to his injury for the next couple of weeks.

What complicates matters even more is that the Steelers will need to have their final 53-man roster locked by the August 30th deadline. This leaves the Steelers with several uncomfortable scenarios, especially if Batch’s situation doesn’t clear up before the end of the season.

1. Do the Steelers keep Charlie Batch on the roster after August 30th? If they do, they likely go into week one with FOUR quarterbacks to start the year, leaving them a position short. Tomlin has already said that he won’t come into camp with four QB’s. That doesn’t sound good for Batch.

2. Do the Steelers cut Leftwich before August 30th, leaving the flashy, but unproven Dennis Dixon as the de facto back-up until Batch returns. I can’t imagine the Steelers do this. As good as Dixon has looked in spots on the field so far, there have been other instances that have seen him look equally bad. I think Dixon will be great, but I don’t think he’s ready to carry the reigns as the back-up. I know, there are a bunch thinking it is a non-issue. Roeth is the starter, and Dixon will likely never need to see a start. It’s thinking like that that can end a season early. Pittsburgh needs to come into camp with a veteran, or someone more proven than Dixon. Again, another strike against Batch.

3. Do the Steelers try to move Dixon to the practice squad, keep Leftwich, and allow Batch to come back slowly? Yeah, Dixon will never make it to the practice squad. He would be free to move to another club, and make no mistakes, he would. Dixon is a talent, and right now, the only player in the 2008 draft that is making noise this training camp. Pittsburgh isn’t going to be cutting him lose any time soon. It’s a possibility, but not likely. Again, not good news for Batch.

4. Do the Steelers release Batch, which would allow the veteran quarterback to sign with another team once he is healthy? Batch doesn’t want to be placed on the injured reserve, which would end his season. He had surgery quickly, which usually is the first step in a quick return. At 33, a quick return certainly isn’t a given. If his prognosis remains as unclear as it is now, this would likely happen per a request from Batch. He would find a job quickly upon his return, and this would allow it to happen. It also wouldn’t preclude a return to the Steelers in 2009, when Leftwich will likely be elsewhere, and Dixon still learning the ropes. Of course, Batch playing elsewhere would certainly open the door to his staying out of Pittsburgh as his career winds down.

5. Do the Steelers place Charlie Batch on the injured reserve? This would seemingly sever the relationship with Batch, since this is the last year of his contract. At the end of the day, if Batch’s injury remains something that could keep him out long-term, look for the Steelers to convince Batch to go this route. It’s then likely that the Steelers would work on signing their veteran back-up to a deal for the 2009 and 2010 season, since it’s likely that Leftwich will move elsewhere. Batch obviously doesn’t want this option, since it would put an end to his season. He should be healthy at some point, so it might just be a matter of how much he wants to remain in Pittsburgh in the future.

It’s still all just speculation at this point. There are many variables that could change over the next two to three weeks, that could alter any decision that might be made. It’s distinctly possible that Batch’s prognosis for returning clears up before August 30th. Whether that’s good for Charlie Batch, that remains to be seen.

Batch, a local native, and active in the Steelers’ and Pittsburgh community is a popular player. He’s mentored several high school players in their search for colleges, including phenom QB, Terrelle Pryor, who recently committed to Ohio State. There has been a lot of speculation the Batch has a bright future as either a coach in the NFL, a future GM, or as an agent to young players. Pittsburgh is certainly interested in keeping Batch as long as possible, and moving him into an administrative or coaching capacity in the future, which makes this decision even more convoluted.

Charlie Batch may have played his last down as a Pittsburgh Steeler. The only thing that will clear up this picture is time, which may be working against Charlie Batch.


By James Pete | August 19th, 2008

08-20-2008, 07:27 AM
Well, yeah, but that shouldn't be a huge concern. Batch isn't making a fortune

Me thinks $1.6 million against the cap isn't chump change. :chuckle:

08-20-2008, 08:08 AM
Judging from this report, the FO may have to make a decision sooner, rather than later.:noidea:


08-20-2008, 03:56 PM
after reading all of this, i am thinking batch is going to get released, unfortunately. dixon isnt going anywhere. we wont risk starting season with dixon as backup. i think batch wants to be able to play this year so he wont accept IR. :(