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Old 05-19-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

View From The Press Box

Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

May 18th, 2010

Byron Leftwich is listed at 250 pounds on the Steelers’ roster but the amiable quarterback said he is considerably lighter than that.

When pressed how much trimmer he is than in past years following practice Tuesday afternoon, Leftwich smiled.

“I might take my shirt of for y’all,” he said.

Leftwich will have to show, at least to coach Mike Tomlin, more than just six-pack abs and a muscled upper body to win the starting quarterback job.

The eighth-year veteran does appear to be the early front-runner to replace suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for at least the first four games of the 2010 season.

Leftwich continued to work with the first-team offense Tuesday, picking up where he left off at minicamp less than three weeks ago.

“I’ve got confidence in myself and I believe they have confidence in me,” Leftwich said of his teammates. “I’m not new to these guys. I’ve been around these guys. I think they see the work I put in.

“Now it’s our job to work our butt off to make sure we get the timing down, to make sure that we get to understand each other because when you look at all the teams that are good, especially offensively, they’ve been together a long time and that’s what establishes that chemistry. We’re just trying to speed up that process and we’ll see what happens.”

The 6-foot-5 Leftwich has the strongest arm of the three battling to replace Roethlisberger. He has nearly as much experience as Charlie Batch — and considerably more so than Dennis Dixon, who has started one NFL game.

Not that he is saying — or Tomlin, for that matter — that the job is his to lose but know this: Leftwich is not lacking for confidence either.

That became apparent when he talked about his experience in Tampa Bay last season where Leftwich, 30, lost his starting job after the Buccaneers dropped their first three games.

“There’s a lot that goes into that that y’all don’t know but at the same time we just weren’t a good football team and it showed,” Leftwich said. “It didn’t work out and I’m just happy to be back here on a team where I’m able to compete for a championship. But at the same time it just didn’t go well for a lot of people down there.”

If it didn’t surprise Leftwich that rookie Josh Freeman, a first-round draft pick, eventually replaced him at quarterback that is because he was on the other side of that in 2003 in Jacksonville. Leftwich took over for veteran Mark Brunell as a rookie following a slow start by the Jaguars.

“It ain’t like I stunk it up down there. It wasn’t that Mark Brunell was playing bad (in 2003) but there comes a time when you’ve got to get this young guy ready and that’s what happens. I understand that process so I didn’t have any hard feelings,” said Leftwich, the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft. “My whole thing last year was to come out of the gate last year and win some football games but we weren’t able to do that. I lived with it and moved on. It was a great learning experience for me but at the same time I’m happy to be back in the black and gold.”

The Steelers traded for Leftwich when they became convinced that commissioner Roger Goodell was going to give Roethlisberger a lengthy suspension.

Leftwich was asked Tuesday if vying for a starting job that will only last four to six games takes anything away from the competition, and he did not hesitate to answer.

“If you get an opportunity to be the guy it doesn’t matter if it’s for 10 plays, you want to go out there and compete. That’s what I love about being out here on the football field,” said Leftwich, who has 58 career touchdown passes and 41 interceptions. “You get a chance to compete and be friends with the same guys you’re competing against. I’ve been talking with Dennis and Charlie ever since I left this place. We have a lot of fun and we all know that somebody’s going to be the guy and the other guys are going to help him out. We’re all fine with that process and we’re all trying to be the best guy.”
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

Glad he is back...And being slimmer will really help!
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

Yeah, it's definitely nice to see him back as a Steeler. I bet he feels the same after coming from the Bucs. Anyways, I wonder when Ben will be allowed to practice again.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

If he does get the start, I'm praying for outrageous results so I can laugh at all the scubs (bucs) fans who were cursing him last season.

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

Might sound cruel, but I"m all for dumping Charlie Batch. I think he's got talent but he's always gotten hurt when we needed him to fill in. Dixon *might* not be ready yet.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lean Leftwich gunning for starting job

As long as he gets rid of the ball quick he should survive a couple games.
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