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fordfixer
02-22-2009, 03:18 AM
On The Steelers: Batch, Leftwich and Dixon ... Two, two many?
It's not inconceivable that the team will have to choose two this offseason
Sunday, February 22, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09053/950880-66.stm

One surprise down. Could the Steelers have another up their sleeve by changing quarterbacks?

No, not that quarterback; his backup. It's assumed by many that Byron Leftwich will sign with a team that gives him a chance to start after he becomes an unrestricted free agent Friday. And it's assumed the Steelers then will re-sign Charlie Batch to be the backup again to Ben Roethlisberger.

That remains the likely scenario, and the Steelers have told Batch, also a UFA Friday, they want him back. But what if Leftwich decides he'd like to stay rather than roll the dice somewhere else? He's talking out loud about such a decision lately, and he's not fooling.

"That's always a possibility," Leftwich said the other day from Atlanta, where he has been working out since the Super Bowl. "The organization has been so good to me, man, and being able to have a chance to play under coach [Mike] Tomlin, it's the best football experience I had in my whole life.

"I'd be a fool to not acknowledge that. Yeah, it is possible because I had so much fun being with that organization."

Leftwich, 29, would like to become an NFL starter again and knows that won't happen with the Steelers, barring injury. He looks around at some of the sub-par quarterback play in the NFL and believes he's better than many.

All that does not mean there is a good situation out there for him. The New York Jets? Chicago? Minnesota? All need quarterbacks, all have histories of impatience with them. Even if Leftwich won the job with any of them, he might be back at No. 2 if he stumbled early.

"I'll sit down and have conversations with these teams and I have to pick the best situation for me," he said. "And I have to have in the back of my mind what I had with the Steelers -- a good football team, a great bunch of guys, a good coach and I enjoyed that. That's going to come into play when I make my decision."

Leftwich said winning the Super Bowl had nothing to do with it, although that certainly was a benefit.

"I really enjoyed it. I can say it so many times, it's not just because we won the Super Bowl, but being on that team and the way things are run the right way, as a player you appreciate that."

The Steelers have made no move to re-sign him or Batch. Batch has been a loyal backup since he signed as a free agent seven years ago. He has been a leader and helped win games during their previous Super Bowl season when Roethlisberger was hurt and has helped mentor him. After his injury in the preseason, Batch remained around the Steelers every day and wants to return. At 34, he is five years older than Leftwich.

If Leftwich decides he'd like to return to the Steelers, they have a decision to make. They drafted Dennis Dixon in the fifth round last season, hoping he could become No. 2 in a few years.
Starks hits jackpot, so why go long-term?

The more Max Starks plays hard to get and the more coaches show they do not want him, the more money he makes from the Steelers.

Starks made more in 2008 after he was demoted than he made in his previous five seasons combined. They guaranteed him nearly $7 million last year after his coaches promoted Willie Colon to take his job at right tackle. He did not win back his starting job last season and started only after Marvel Smith left with back problems.

Starks never got close to signing a long-term contract last year, so why should he do it now, especially since 2010 likely will be an uncapped year in the NFL?Making Starks the franchise player assures Smith will leave as a free agent.
Move over Troy, here comes Harrison

Signing James Harrison to a contract extension won't come cheaply. The Oakland Raiders signed cornerback Nmandi Asomugha to a three-year contract worth either $40 or $45 million, depending on which report you believe. He's guaranteed to make at least $26 million in the first two years.

If a Pro Bowl cornerback can make that, what's the NFL defensive player of the year worth?

One thing that might hold the number down is that Harrison has a year left on his contract.

But he could easily surpass Troy Polamalu as the team's highest-paid defensive player by the time a new one is done.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on February 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

flippy
02-22-2009, 08:07 AM
People always talk about guys being willing to take a discount to play with a winner. Amazingly I never thought Byron would potentially be that guy.

That'd be something if he stayed to be a backup.

Although the way Ben plays, you never know when your backup might need to become a starter. Maybe Byron had that in his head to some degree?

steelcityrules!!
02-22-2009, 09:50 AM
one season holding the clipboard, after starting all those years... and he's potentially taking a pay cut AND the chance to start just to stay with such a stellar organization.

kind of puts into perspective how special the rooney family really is.

Jooser
02-22-2009, 11:11 AM
Lefty has always had a lot of character going back to his college days at Marshall. He knows a good thing when he sees it. He also knows that Ben takes a lot of hits and is more likely than most to get hurt, thus potentially offering him some PT. I say kudos to him if he'd stay.

Discipline of Steel
02-22-2009, 11:20 AM
I know hes had some success with us but I almost dont want Lefty to stay on. I guess it depends on where the Steelers feel Dixon is in his development. First of all, Lefty IS a statue and it would be nice to have a mobile QB on the roster just in case our line doesnt improve significantly. In addition, having Dixon as #2, he can come into the game at any time and give us some amazing options situationally. Of course, since Im not on the inside, I trust the Steelers will make the correct decision. You have to give the front office the benefit of the doubt, given our recent successes and consistant competitiveness year after year.

Djfan
02-22-2009, 11:26 AM
Great situation we have here.

Can you imagine this going on in Cinci? I can hear Palmer the lesser hoping Carson stays on because that is the only thing guaranteeing him a roster spot. But, can you picture Carson coming out and saying how great the coaching is, or the organization?

I liked the idea someone here had of keeping Lefty and making Batch a coach on some level.

But, what I really like is having the Rooneys make these decisions.

Jooser
02-22-2009, 11:29 AM
I think Vick would fit right in with those convicts in Cinci....

pittpete
02-22-2009, 12:28 PM
I liked the idea someone here had of keeping Lefty and making Batch a coach on some level.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
02-23-2009, 10:49 AM
Guys, guys.......use your heads on this one.

Lefty is a smart guy and knows not to slam the door on this, but do you really think that he would rather come back here to sit behind Ben again if there is any interest in being handed a starting role elsewhere?

Aside from the fact that the money would be much higher, Byron is a starter in this league and must want to return to that role. As a matter of fact, I would be very disappointed if he turned down a starting spot to return - I expect someone in his situation to still have the fire to start.

Lonbull
02-24-2009, 12:25 PM
Aside from the fact that the money would be much higher, Byron is a starter in this league and must want to return to that role. As a matter of fact, I would be very disappointed if he turned down a starting spot to return - I expect someone in his situation to still have the fire to start.

Steeler Fan in T.O.

I don't think Byron is necessarily a "lock" to start for his next team, which may add to some of the indecision. I think a number of teams he may go to will give him every opportunity to start, however they may give him a limited chance because they have a younger guy they think will be the future.

He's been on the bench with a horrible team, and he's been on the bench with a Super Bowl winner - if there's a chance he's going to be on the bench anyway perhaps he prefers the Steelers organization.

I agree that Byron "seems" like he should be ready to return into the starting role - however he really hasn't been a full time starter since 2005.

Either way he's a solid guy and I hope he goes to a team and succeeds there (just not against us).

L.B.

proudpittsburgher
02-24-2009, 12:54 PM
Aside from the fact that the money would be much higher, Byron is a starter in this league and must want to return to that role. As a matter of fact, I would be very disappointed if he turned down a starting spot to return - I expect someone in his situation to still have the fire to start.

Steeler Fan in T.O.

I don't think Byron is necessarily a "lock" to start for his next team, which may add to some of the indecision. I think a number of teams he may go to will give him every opportunity to start, however they may give him a limited chance because they have a younger guy they think will be the future.

He's been on the bench with a horrible team, and he's been on the bench with a Super Bowl winner - if there's a chance he's going to be on the bench anyway perhaps he prefers the Steelers organization.

I agree that Byron "seems" like he should be ready to return into the starting role - however he really hasn't been a full time starter since 2005.

Either way he's a solid guy and I hope he goes to a team and succeeds there (just not against us).

L.B.

I disagree in that I think that Byron would choose to go to a team where there is no question he is the starter. If someone gives him a sizeable contract, it's his job, not to lose, but his job. But I admire what he is saying, and contend that this is the reason they chose Byron over Pep. I really like Charlie Batch, but would feel more comfortable with Leftwich if he had to play extended time in Ben's absence. I think that the Steelers feel the same way, and that's why they have not made a move either way until the situation gets a bit clearer. The problem with that is it makes for a murkier decision if nobody steps up and makes a run at Lefty soon. If three or four teams get in the fold, then the Steelers pretty much KNOW he is gone, and can move toward signing Batch.