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Old 12-07-2006, 12:09 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: 12/7/06

Steelers Notebook: Batch awarded for community service
Thursday, December 07, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Charlie Batch has Ben Roethlisberger's back as the Steelers' No. 2 quarterback. Yesterday, his teammates showed Batch is No. 1 off the field when they voted him the Steelers' Walter Payton Man of the Year for his service in the community.

Batch will compete with 31 team nominees for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year, an award his former teammate, Jerome Bettis, won in 2002.

"I always said if I had the opportunity to give back I would do that," said Batch, a Homestead native and Steel Valley High School graduate.

"I started when I was in Detroit. When I came home, I was a lot more hands-on to do what I wanted to do in the community. Being so close to home, it made a lot of sense to do that."

Batch established a project that helps a youth basketball league in Homestead, and also helps disadvantaged communities in the area through his The Best of the Batch Foundation. The foundation also is conducting a Toys For Tots drive.

He has spent his own money to fund many of his projects, including $50,000 to refurbish basketball courts in the Homestead and Pittsburgh area.

Batch also is the Steelers' United Way representative.

"It means a lot more to me because I know what it's all about and I'm from here," Batch said. "I don't do this for any of the awards, I do it just from the heart. It's touching to be able to do this."


Big back attack


Reuben Droughns will start at halfback for Cleveland tonight. The Browns' leading rusher with 546 yards, Droughns did not play against the Steelers Nov. 19 in Cleveland because of an injury.

Droughns became the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Browns in 20 years when he gained 1,232 yards last season. But he has had little success against the Steelers, who held him to 91 yards rushing in his three career games against the team.

"Reuben's a great back," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He always runs hard against us so that's a key addition for them to have back."

Droughns, 5 feet 11 and 215 pounds, is in his seventh year in the NFL, second with the Browns, who acquired him in a trade last year.

"He's just a big, bruising back," Keisel said, describing Droughns' running style more than his size. "He runs downhill. He's not much of a cutback runner or things like that. He just gets the ball and lowers his head and he's moving forward. He's tough to bring down.'

The Steelers have allowed just one back to rush for 100 yards against them in the past 46 games, including playoffs -- none this season.


Confidence in Crennel


Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel received votes of confidence both from general manager Phil Savage and owner Randy Lerner last week. His Browns then went out and upset the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime for their fourth victory and a chance to still beat out the Steelers to avoid last place in the AFC North Division.

"I've been in this business a long time," said Crennel, in his second season coaching the Browns after leaving Bill Belichick's staff in New England. "I appreciated that vote of confidence, but we all know that if you don't win games that confidence goes down the drain pretty quick."


Big numbers


Ben Roethlisberger's 2,727 yards passing ranks fourth in the AFC and Willie Parker's 976 yards are third. Parker can become the third Steelers player to record consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Franco Harris and Bettis also did it.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06341/744255-66.stm
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: 12/7/06

Steelers notebook

By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, December 7, 2006


The Steelers will start one rookie and another who is essentially a rookie at wide receiver tonight against the Cleveland Browns.

What the means for Heath Miller is anybody's guess. The Steelers' starting tight end has lined up at times as a slot receiver, and he figures to have an expanded role in the passing game with Hines Ward (knee) and Cedrick Wilson (ankle) out for the 8 p.m. game.

With Ward, the team's leading receiver, sidelined last Sunday, Miller caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' 20-3 win over Tampa Bay.

"It's basically the same responsibilities I have week in and week out," Miller said when asked how his role might change because of the depleted wide receiving corps. "I'm always prepared if a receiver goes down to step in, but as far as changing anything it should be the same for me."

Rookie Santonio Holmes will make his first NFL start tonight along with Nate Washington, a second-year pro who played sparingly last season.

Starting in place of Ward against the Buccaneers, Washington caught three passes for a game-high 76 yards.

The Steelers signed Lee Mays earlier this week to provide depth at wide receiver.

Mays played for the Steelers from 2002-04 and re-signed with the team last January after a broken leg ended Quincy Morgan's season.

Mays didn't make the team in training camp, but happened to be in Pittsburgh when the Steelers called him Monday about another return.

Mays is on the team's 53-man roster, but he said he doesn't know if he'll be active for tonight's game.

"Obviously, you can't be in football shape in three days, but I'm going to go out there and give it my best and see what happens," said Mays, who had been working out in hopes of getting back to the NFL. "It's a lot easier knowing you're coming to a team that you've been a part of."

Resting Reid

The signing of Mays officially ended Willie Reid's season.

The rookie wide receiver/kick returner, who hasn't played since spraining his left foot Oct. 8 at San Diego, was placed on the injured reserve list.

"He kept working to get back and the last couple of weeks he's been on the field," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "I think it was one of those things he just wasn't even that close to being able to accelerate, to kind of do the things you have to do as a returner and a receiver."

The Steelers took Reid with the second of their two third-round picks in last April's draft, and they were hoping he would make an impact as a punt and kickoff returner.

He returned one punt for 11 yards against the Chargers, then was hurt in that game while returning a kickoff for 19 yards.

"I think in the long run it will be good for him," Cowher said of shutting Reid down, "because I think we may have been pushing it a little bit to try and get him back. "

Batch honored

Quarterback Charlie Batch has been named Steelers Man of the Year for his work in the Pittsburgh community and is eligible to win the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Batch runs several foundations, is the Steelers' United Way spokesman and is particularly generous with his time and money when it comes to helping disadvantaged children.

The winner of the award that is named after the late Chicago Bears running back will be announced during the week of the Super Bowl.

Digits

7 - Rushing yards the Steelers had in 24-21 win over the Browns on Nov. 19

99 - Rushing yards the Browns had in the 24-21 loss to the Steelers

100.3 - Rushing yards the Steelers are giving up per game.

131.8 - Rushing yards the Browns are giving up per game.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_483032.html
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