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Old 09-27-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default Bires: Good times, Charlie

Bires: Good times, Charlie
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Monday September 27, 2010 11:35 PM

PITTSBURGH — As Charlie Batch proved Sunday, a lot of people were dead wrong about him.

Hardly anyone gave him a chance this year, including me.

In the “Steelers’ cuts” column I do each summer as training camp winds to a close, I figured Batch’s days in Pittsburgh were over. After all, with Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon getting most preseason snaps, Batch appeared to be the odd man out.

So I cut him.

Even after Batch got a reprieve when Leftwich sprained his knee late in the preseason, coach Mike Tomlin didn’t seem confident in him. In explaining why Dixon was chosen as the opening-day starter, Tomlin said he was worried about Batch’s durability.

Well, Batch sure looked durable and then some this past Sunday in leading the Steelers to a 38-13 thrashing of Tampa Bay.

With Dixon out with a knee injury, Batch looked like he was 25 instead of 35. With the way he played, it can be argued that the Steelers erred badly in the way they handled Batch.

Based on Batch’s performance against the Buccaneers, it can be argued that signing Leftwich was a mistake in the first place.

In Batch, maybe the Steelers already had the ideal back-up while Ben Roethlisberger served his four-game suspension.

When asked if regretted not starting Batch against Atlanta or Tennessee, Tomlin said, “I don’t get do-overs.”
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To his credit, never has Batch complained about the way he’s been used. Not once in camp did he say he was being slighted although he probably felt he was. When Tomlin tabbed Dixon as the opening day starter, Batch didn’t complain.

All Batch ever said about the way he was being used was that if he’d get a chance to play, he’d be ready.

And after throwing three TD passes and taking off on a career-long, 24-yard run against the Bucs, Batch sure was ready. But afterwards, Batch didn’t fire back at those doubted him. There weren’t any snide “I told you so” remarks.

Batch has always been a class guy and he was classy again Sunday.

“You really got to tip a hat to Charlie Batch,” Tomlin said. “This guy hasn’t had a lot of opportunity, not only in recent years, but recent days, weeks, or months. He didn’t blink. He has been a consummate professional and team player.”

Certainly Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace appreciates how Batch has handled himself since Roethlisberger was suspended. In the first quarter after Wallace caught a 46-yard TD pass from Batch, he didn’t keep the football. Instead, Wallace, who’s only 24, gave the ball to Batch.

What a kind and proper gesture that was.

No one deserved a game ball more than Charlie Batch.

Mike Bires can be reached at mbires@timesonline.com.
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bires: Good times, Charlie

I was on the list of guys that wanted him cut after preseason.. I am very happy to be wrong :D
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