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Old 08-07-2006, 06:59 AM   #1
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Default Batch pleased he's No. 2

Charlie Batch has had to scramble away from trouble in his eight years playing quarterback in the NFL. On June 12, he willingly scampered into the eye of it. Had to, he said.

Television, radio, newspapers, the Internet -- none of it provided Batch with the kind of information he could get only at Mercy Hospital, where Ben Roethlisberger lay in Lord knew what condition.

"Everybody was talking about football. I said I'm just trying to figure out if this guy is still alive," Batch said nearly eight weeks later, on a much slower news day at Steelers training camp on the Saint Vincent College campus.

Batch was among Roethlisberger's first teammates to rush to Mercy Hospital the day of his motorcycle accident. He was told to come back later because Roethlisberger was in surgery. He returned at 7 p.m. and the surgery was not done, "So, we sat around with the family, just talking, trying to ease the tension a little bit," Batch said.

Batch stayed several hours, but was unable to see Roethlisberger until two days later.

"I just wanted to make sure he was OK. I was able to talk to him. I felt better after I left there."

The two reviewed pictures that Wednesday the way they might on the sideline of a Steelers game, only they weren't still shots of the Bengals' defense but X-rays of Roethlisberger's repaired head.

"He showed me the pictures -- What happened? Here's what's going on. What's this? What's this?" Batch said. "When I left, I felt a whole lot better. I knew he was definitely going to be around."

Not even Batch could have imagined that eight weeks later, Roethlisberger would have one full week of training camp under his helmet and preparing as if he will play in the first preseason game Saturday in Arizona.

Eight weeks ago, it looked as if Batch would be the starting quarterback for the defending Super Bowl champions in 2006. He's happy to say he is not.

"Ben's blessed to be in that situation, to be here and practicing eight weeks later and possibly a game," Batch said. "Some people thought that was unheard of at the time. There were so many scenarios.

"Even over the summer, when I was asked about Ben, I said, 'I'll let you know when I report on the 28th and practice on Sunday. Call me Sunday afternoon and I'll let you know. Better yet, turn on the TV.'

"I'm glad he's still around, still upbeat, the same type of person. It's good."

There are many on the Steelers who are happy Batch is still around. No. 2 behind Tommy Maddox in 2003, he regained that spot last season after Maddox performed poorly in two games. The Steelers won both games Batch started for an injured Roethlisberger, at Green Bay and at home against Cleveland.

He became an unrestricted free agent in March, but the Steelers released Maddox and Batch quickly signed a three-year contract with them, opting not to try his luck elsewhere.

He thought of his options and all those veteran quarterbacks, like Batch a former starter, who refuse to accept a backup role and wind up out of the league. He knows he has no future as a starter with the Steelers as long as Roethlisberger stays healthy. But then, he's living out a dream of sorts, a product of Homestead who earned a Super Bowl ring with the hometown team with a chance for more.

"You understand your role coming in. There's no wavering whether there's a possibility or not possibility of another circumstance," Batch said. "The way the season ended last year was great. To have an opportunity to come back and be around the guys again and the chance to repeat was great.

"You look at the core of this team, everybody was here. The expectations continue to be high. For me, this is where I wanted to be in the beginning."

A starter his first four seasons in Detroit, Batch, 31, joined the Steelers after the Lions released him in 2002. He gives the Steelers their best chance of success if something happens to Roethlisberger. He also is an unabashed supporter of the young quarterback.

During his time with the Steelers, Batch also has thrown his time into helping his hometown, which was down on its luck after the steel industry moved out. He started a summer youth basketball program in Homestead in 2002 -- after his other nickname CHUCK or Continuously Helping Uplifit Community Kids -- that started with 125. There were 292 players this year. He teamed with Home Depot last year to refurbish a playground and is attempting to do the same at West Field, where the Homestead Grays played.

Batch spends much of his summer around his basketball league, proudly showing off two rings to the youngsters there. One he earned in February, the other he earned by finishing school, his Steel Valley High School ring.

"I told them, this is where it started," he said.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

I really respect Batch for being such a team player.. he could have just said 'well..now I get my chance to start" but he Didnt do that. He visited Ben and sounds very sincere in his statements. He was a decent starter in Detroit and has been a pretty darn good back up to us here in Pittsburgh and I am glad to know that we have a guy behind Big Ben that has the experience of playin' in the NFL and most of all knowin' how to win.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

I've always respected the local Pittsburgh guy. Does a ton for the community and a good #2 for this team. Homestead Charlie is the man.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

No doubt about it - he's a great guy, a good friend to Ben and a teamer, but I still just don't feel comfortable with him behind center. Sorry.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal
No doubt about it - he's a great guy, a good friend to Ben and a teamer, but I still just don't feel comfortable with him behind center. Sorry.
what exactly makes you uncomfortable about him? He has done well for us when we needed him. I feel better about him than most backups in the NFL. cough.. joey Harrington.. cough..
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by WySilv
what exactly makes you uncomfortable about him? He has done well for us when we needed him. I feel better about him than most backups in the NFL. cough.. joey Harrington.. cough..
I don't want to get into all of the reasons why I'm not comfortable with him back there, but I will say that when he played in Detroit and the few games he has played here, I wasn't impressed and all I can say looking back at the Green Bay game last season is - thank God for Troy! It doesn't matter one way or the other how I feel about him as a QB - he's a member of the black and gold and I will stand behind him if he is called upon to play.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by WySilv
what exactly makes you uncomfortable about him? He has done well for us when we needed him. I feel better about him than most backups in the NFL. cough.. joey Harrington.. cough..
I agree. His job is to not lose the game when our starting QB is out. He did what was expected of him. I also agree with you on that I would take him over many of the #2 QB's in the league. Good post.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal
I don't want to get into all of the reasons why I'm not comfortable with him back there, but I will say that when he played in Detroit and the few games he has played here, I wasn't impressed and all I can say looking back at the Green Bay game last season is - thank God for Troy! It doesn't matter one way or the other how I feel about him as a QB - he's a member of the black and gold and I will stand behind him if he is called upon to play.
Ditto. He's never impressed me either, even when he's had tons of talent around him. But as long as he's a Steeler, I'll definitely be rooting for him if, God forbid, he has to come in and play.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator
Ditto. He's never impressed me either, even when he's had tons of talent around him. But as long as he's a Steeler, I'll definitely be rooting for him if, God forbid, he has to come in and play.
I'd have to disagree with not being impressed by his play. The first game with Green Bay last year wasn't great, but he came back next week and gave a good performance (no ints, no fumbles) with a rushing touchdown and 150 passing yards. I didn't get nervous until the thumb injury where Maddox came in. We remember what happened in the next few weeks. He also had a 30 yard TD pass in a game later in the season against Cleveland.

I will give you that the Cleveland games may not be the best time to gauge a performance (and I really didn't get to see him play for Detroit), but I really wasn't worried when he had to take over for Big Ben. That being said, I hope that Ben has a healthy and successful season and can lead the team like he did last year.
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Batch pleased he's No. 2

I'm very, very confident in Charlie as our #2 QB. He proved last year that he can most definitely get the job done if need be.
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