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mesaSteeler
02-17-2009, 07:40 AM
Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again
Feb. 16, 2009
By Pete Prisco
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/11385793/rss

A year ago, he was a player discarded by two teams. The scouts were saying he was injury-plagued, that his delivery was too deliberate, his throwing motion too much like a pitcher's windup.

Byron Leftwich was a man without a team, a man wondering if he would ever get the chance to start in the NFL again.

Byron Leftwich managed to get healthy backing up Ben Roethlisberger. (Getty Images)
Byron Leftwich managed to get healthy backing up Ben Roethlisberger. (Getty Images)
They were calling him a bust. He knew better.

"I never doubted I could start," Leftwich said recently. "Never. That was for other people."

His chance to start is coming again, probably this season.

Spending the 2009 season as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn't what Leftwich wanted, but in reality it might be just what his career needed. He got a Super Bowl ring and he got something else:

He became "hot" again. Hard to believe it took being a backup to make that happen.

"It's been great for me as a person and it's been great for me as a player," Leftwich said. "Football is a humbling sport and having the opportunity to not be the guy (starting QB) is a real humbling thing."

As the NFL readies for the open of the free-agency period in a couple of weeks, Leftwich is among the quarterbacks expected to get solid interest from several teams. If Kurt Warner stays in Arizona as expected -- provided he doesn't retire -- Leftwich could get the most attention from quarterback-needy teams.

He's relatively young at 29, has a rocket for an arm, is a good kid and works hard at the task.

Why wouldn't one of the quarterback-depleted teams -- see New York Jets -- take a shot on Leftwich? Would a Jets fans rather have Brett Ratliff, Kellen Clemens or Eric Ainge starting instead of Leftwich? I doubt it.

"I just need that chance," Leftwich said. "I know I can do it."

In the summer of 2007, Leftwich was entering his fifth season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that picked him in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2003. Despite coming off an injury-shortened season, Leftwich entered training camp as the starter. But nine days before the season opened, Leftwich was released. That was a decision made by coach Jack Del Rio, who had a well-documented personality conflict with his quarterback.

MasterOfPuppets
02-17-2009, 07:53 AM
keep your grubby paws off our backup you filthy scavengers...:whatnow:

how gratifying would it be for lefty, to lead a team into jville, and have a 400 yd, 5 td performance ??? how quick would he look for delretard after the game ? :chuckle:

HometownGal
02-17-2009, 08:13 AM
It pains me at the thought of losing Lefty, but he is still young, strong and can obviously still excel at QB. Whichever team lands him is very fortunate. :thumbsup: I'll always keep a little of my black 'n gold heart reserved for him.

scsteeler
02-17-2009, 09:55 AM
I know all QB's want to be Starters but if I was Leftwich I would want to stay at least 1 more year. Going to a crappy team and being blamed for not winning is worse than being a backup.

SteelCityKing
02-17-2009, 10:02 AM
i like Leftwich. he's a good QB and he was a great QB in his time. but if you have to take a paycut and sign a small year deal...hell, do it, bro. you get backseat to championship quality teams. the good thing is, we like you around our squad. so, in my opinion Lefty, do what you do to stick around. we could use you. =)

PisnNapalm
02-17-2009, 10:07 AM
2009 season?? Big typo there. I'm not sure who I'd rather have at backup. Leftwich or Batch.

SteelCityKing
02-17-2009, 10:17 AM
2009 season?? Big typo there. I'm not sure who I'd rather have at backup. Leftwich or Batch.

good debate. but we've seen Leftwich do his thing and win some games in the wake of Ben being hurt. he knows what to do. Batch has done his fair share of playing as well. but not as much lately due to injury. he already has two rings and has been out of his prime for awhile. Leftwich still has some left and if he can continue to produce like he does, he should stay on for a few more year.

keep Byron, cut Charlie, utilize Dennis. period.

SCSTILLER
02-17-2009, 10:38 AM
Unfortunately, Lefty is more than likely gone with KC, , Det, Minn, TB (to a point) and some others I cannot think of needing quality QBs with experience.

Glad you were here Lefty, hope you stay, but thanks for great fill ins!

MasterOfPuppets
02-17-2009, 10:42 AM
i think he goes to either tampa bay, or NY.

NEPAsteeler
02-17-2009, 11:19 AM
Whereever he ends up, I wish him the best of luck! :drink:

Although I wish he would stay with us :tt02:

SC Gamecokk
02-17-2009, 11:20 AM
I know all QB's want to be Starters but if I was Leftwich I would want to stay at least 1 more year. Going to a crappy team and being blamed for not winning is worse than being a backup.

and to top it off, being cut. he could have it made in pittsburgh if he wanted to be a back-up. charlie accepted that years ago, and has made a nice living, and all-the-while, saving his body to have a healthy retirement.

that being said, i don't blame him a bit for wanting a chance to start. but it is just something to think about...

klick81
02-17-2009, 11:42 AM
Once a Steeler, always a Steeler!

I have a feeling that even with all those years in Jacksonville, Leftwich has had more fun and has more appreciation for his teammates in Pittsburgh.

aries4972
02-17-2009, 11:45 AM
... come on fellas we all knew that Byron was a one year back-up. I think his coming here worked out great for everyone involved. he gave us some quality back-up work, he looked good doing it. Steelers and Byron knew he was auditioning for a job somewhere else in '09. I wish him the best of luck. (except when/if he plays against the Steelers). Good Player... Good Indivdual....hope he wears that ring with pride.

:drink:


:tt::tt::tt::tt::tt::tt:

drew102e
02-17-2009, 12:24 PM
he was a quality backup, worth the $$

some team, hopefully NFC, will get a good QB

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-17-2009, 12:25 PM
Jets will sign Leftwich after Feb 27 when he files for free agency.

Who else is out there?? Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms, Rex Grossman, Kerry Collins, Sage Rosenfels???

SC Gamecokk
02-17-2009, 12:43 PM
Unfortunately, Lefty is more than likely gone with KC, , Det, Minn, TB (to a point) and some others I cannot think of needing quality QBs with experience.

Glad you were here Lefty, hope you stay, but thanks for great fill ins!

i'll be honest that i'm being a homer on this topic, but still...how in the world can anybody honestly say that KC needs a quality QB when they have one?!?!?! :doh:

good lord thigpen's offense had no running game, yet still put up 24-28 points almost every game. it's the defense giving up 35 points a game that led them to a two win season. tyler thigpen is the LEAST of the problems in KC. they're one WR and a front seven away from being a playoff team IMO

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-17-2009, 12:51 PM
i'll be honest that i'm being a homer on this topic, but still...how in the world can anybody honestly say that KC needs a quality QB when they have one?!?!?! :doh:


Thanks for identifying yourself as a homer first. Thigpen has looked OK, but if the Chiefs want to make a 7th round draft pick from Coastal Carolina the face of their franchise, after 11 career starts.......go ahead.

If I was Scott Pioli and it was my job to make the team better.......I would get a veteran QB and let Thigpen learn behind him instead of throwing him onto the fire any more.

stlrtruck
02-17-2009, 12:52 PM
Jeff Garcia could be a good option for a lot of teams as he has done nothing but win since leaving Cleveland. In Philly he was better than McNabb, in Tampa he was burning bright only to be snuffed out by Gruden.

While Lefty has a good case, his only downfall is that he was a backup this year and most teams will probably consider Garcia before him. However, once Garcia is snatched up, Lefty won't be far behind.

I'm only hoping Lefty would reconsider his position, accept the role as #2 and help the Steelers get #7.

STEEL-MAN
02-17-2009, 02:01 PM
We need to keep Leftwich, with a guy like him if Ben went down the team wouldn't miss a beat, he has the best chance to get another SB ring with Steelers as well. The guy has a great release and can throw to anywhere on the field. He should be a starter and no doubt can start for most NFL teams but he is most valuable to the Steelers as insurance. Sadly he probably won't stay, in fact may face and beat us this coming season, he was good at that in Jacksonville.

rbryan
02-17-2009, 02:09 PM
With the "Byron is back" hype machine running at full throttle someone will overpay for his services.

He still has a slow release and is injury prone (unless he's holding a clipboard 99% of the time) BTW he's another year older than he was when he couldn't beat out Joey Harrington for the job in ATL.

He's a decent backup but I won't lose any sleep over him moving on.

StainlessStill
02-17-2009, 02:20 PM
Batch is our guy. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if we signed another Quarterback on the roster to come in here to land a #2 or #3 job behind Ben.

Obviously we have Dixon, and he will eventually make a spot on our team to make plays, that's a gut feeling. Batch is coming off an injury season and is GETTING UP THERE IN AGE.

Regardless, the job is Batch's because #1 He's a helluva community man and serves well around the area and #2 He's a homestead boy who will certainly help out the team as far as pay is concerned and #3 His starting days around this league are over. But don't be surprised if we bring someone in to push him for #2. Dixon isn't there yet.

Lefty is elusive, strong, and young. He is starter material and will get a chance he deserves. I'll be rooting for him, unless of course we see him again.

KeiselPower99
02-17-2009, 02:33 PM
I love Byron and had fun watching him be a Steeler this year. I hope wherever he ends up he tears it up.

SC Gamecokk
02-17-2009, 03:06 PM
Thanks for identifying yourself as a homer first. Thigpen has looked OK, but if the Chiefs want to make a 7th round draft pick from Coastal Carolina the face of their franchise, after 11 career starts.......go ahead.

If I was Scott Pioli and it was my job to make the team better.......I would get a veteran QB and let Thigpen learn behind him instead of throwing him onto the fire any more.

he looked "ok?" the guy was great when you think about what he was working with. and you don't care to comment on my point about the offense scoring 28 and defense giving up 35?

what round was brady drafted in? how about warner...oh yeah, he wasn't even drafted. you should know by now that you can't just automatically hate on a small school late rounder anymore.

your point about bringing in a veteran QB via free agency may be something to look at. what i'm saying though is that if they draft a QB early in the draft, they are basically telling thigpen that he's not wanted in KC, other than being a bench warmer. thigpen has proven that he can play in the nfl, he just needs some time to establish himself more. give him an entire offseason to learn the offense before judging his ability. look at what he did "being thrown into the fire" this year without a full offseason as starter.

but if they draft a QB this year, they're taking a 2 year step backwards. draft defensive front 7, and roll with what you have. i'd be saying the same thing if i didn't know tyler.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-17-2009, 03:48 PM
...how in the world can anybody honestly say that KC needs a quality QB when they have one?!?!?! :doh:


SC game@ockk ...........this is what you said. I never said they should draft a QB, I never said their defense couldnt stop people.

I will say that KC needs a quality QB instead of Thigpen, because I would not want to be the Head coach with my job on the arm of a 7th round QB from Coastal Carolina with only 11 career starts.

Tom Brady was a 7th round pick, from a Big 10 school and played against top level competition. He was also the backup to veteran Drew Bledsoe. Kurt Warner had experience in the Arena league and NFL Europe and again, was the backup to Trent Green. Both got their jobs due to injury, both had a chance to learn from quality veterans and Thigpen should be given that chance to learn too.

If you really are a homer and want Thigpen to succeed, you should hope and pray they sign a veteran guy like Garcia that he can learn from for another year or 2 and then take over, instead of being fed to the wolves again. Its his best chance.

Last time I looked, the Chiefs couldnt schedule Monmouth or Stonybrook for homecoming.

SC Gamecokk
02-17-2009, 05:34 PM
SC game@ockk ...........this is what you said. I never said they should draft a QB, I never said their defense couldnt stop people.

I will say that KC needs a quality QB instead of Thigpen, because I would not want to be the Head coach with my job on the arm of a 7th round QB from Coastal Carolina with only 11 career starts.

Tom Brady was a 7th round pick, from a Big 10 school and played against top level competition. He was also the backup to veteran Drew Bledsoe. Kurt Warner had experience in the Arena league and NFL Europe and again, was the backup to Trent Green. Both got their jobs due to injury, both had a chance to learn from quality veterans and Thigpen should be given that chance to learn too.

If you really are a homer and want Thigpen to succeed, you should hope and pray they sign a veteran guy like Garcia that he can learn from for another year or 2 and then take over, instead of being fed to the wolves again. Its his best chance.

Last time I looked, the Chiefs couldnt schedule Monmouth or Stonybrook for homecoming.

i definitely think you have a good point with veteran coming in for a year...but again, if they draft sanchez, or stafford, who i think is VERY overrated, the writing would be on the wall that they don't want him.

Dino 6 Rings
02-17-2009, 05:50 PM
I think its sweet justice for Lefty to have been ran out of town in Jacksonville, only to land with us for a season and get a ring plus a couple games worth of experience on a Winning Team.

He'll land on his feet I'm sure of it. Tampa Bay, or Detroit, or Minnesota even.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-17-2009, 06:10 PM
i definitely think you have a good point with veteran coming in for a year...but again, if they draft sanchez, or stafford, who i think is VERY overrated, the writing would be on the wall that they don't want him.

I dont think you will see that. I bet they take a rusher like Orakpo to replace the sacks that they lost with Jared Allen.

lilyoder6
02-17-2009, 06:26 PM
I dont think you will see that. I bet they take a rusher like Orakpo to replace the sacks that they lost with Jared Allen.

that who i was thinking.. or they would take a shot at aaron curry...

but back 2 lefty.. he got his ring, his career back, and poss a starting job again in 1 yr as a back-up.. not to shabby i say

AllD
02-17-2009, 07:36 PM
It would be a great investment.

HometownGal
02-17-2009, 07:53 PM
What are the chances of the rooneys giving byron enough to stick around for one more year hoping for a repeat?

Very, very slim, unfortunately. They have other areas to address and by the time they are done forking out the moola for a new contract for Silverback, there isn't going to be much left to give to Lefty. I'd love to see him stay, as I think he is a far better QB than Charlie is or ever was, but I'm not holding my breath. Besides - if I'm Lefty and I have the opportunity to start for another team, I'm (sadly) going to take that opportunity.

Stlrs4Life
02-17-2009, 08:32 PM
It's a shame we can't keep him. Best of luck to Lefty.

Texasteel
02-17-2009, 08:45 PM
Very, very slim, unfortunately. They have other areas to address and by the time they are done forking out the moola for a new contract for Silverback, there isn't going to be much left to give to Lefty. I'd love to see him stay, as I think he is a far better QB than Charlie is or ever was, but I'm not holding my breath. Besides - if I'm Lefty and I have the opportunity to start for another team, I'm (sadly) going to take that opportunity.

You said it all right there. Lefty thinks he is still a starting QB and will want to go to a team the will use him that way. To tell you the truth, from what I have seen of some of the QBs some teams are starting, I have to agree with him.

Galax Steeler
02-18-2009, 05:14 AM
I don't see no way of keeping lefty around it would be nice but as everyone else agrees he will be starting somewhere next year.

SC Gamecokk
02-18-2009, 06:08 AM
I dont think you will see that. I bet they take a rusher like Orakpo to replace the sacks that they lost with Jared Allen.

you would think they'd go that route since like i said, their front 7 is beyond horrible. but, stranger things have happened.

as for leftwich, i'd love to see him as our long-term backup but it won't happen. i wish he could go to an AFC south team that jacksonville had to see twice a year...THAT would be sweet! :chuckle:

tucker6
02-18-2009, 06:40 AM
The marriage between the Steelers and Lefty worked for both parties at the time. The Steelers needed a replacement for Batch (IR), and Lefty needed to re-prove his skill set to the league. Both sides won. Fast forward to Feb 2009, and the landscape is not the same. Batch is back, and even though he may not have the skill set of Lefty, we have to remember that QB #2 is an insurance policy. Do you want to overpay for your car insurance? NO. Do you want to overpay for your #2 QB? NO.

For Lefty, he has proven that he is a capable starter, and several teams will see him as an upgrade at starting QB. He would be crazy to not take it for the same reasons we would not overpay for a #2 QB. This is a business, and each side has to look at their business plan going forward. Unfortunately, neither side probably has the other on it.

Tom

stillers4me
02-18-2009, 06:51 AM
I'm anxious to see what happens whith Leftwich. Would love to have him stay. You just never know.