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Old 02-17-2009, 06:40 AM   #1
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Default Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again


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.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

keep your grubby paws off our backup you filthy scavengers...

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 ?
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

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. I'll always keep a little of my black 'n gold heart reserved for him.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

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.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

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. =)
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

2009 season?? Big typo there. I'm not sure who I'd rather have at backup. Leftwich or Batch.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

Quote:
Originally Posted by PisnNapalm View Post
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.
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

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!
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

i think he goes to either tampa bay, or NY.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Leftwich regroups as Steelers backup, in demand again

Whereever he ends up, I wish him the best of luck!

Although I wish he would stay with us
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