Batch hoping to hang around as Steelers' backup QB
By MARK KABOLY, Daily News Sports Editor
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Twice before during his time with the Steelers, Charlie Batch has gone into the offseason without a contract.
Batch is in the final year of his deal, and the Steelers have a firm policy of not negotiating contracts once the season begins. That means there's little more than a month for the two sides to come together on an extension.
The clock is ticking and Batch fully expects time to run out between now and Sept. 7.
"As long as I have been here, I have never signed before my contract expired," Batch said. "Each time I have signed here it has been during the free agent period. It's not the first time it has been like this."
In 2005 and 2007, he signed during the offseason. If he wants to return to his hometown team for a seventh year, he more than likely will have to wait until his contract expires at the end of February.
"It is hard to predict what is going to happen in the next 8-10 months," said Batch, who is set to make $1.35 million this year as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. "I would love to stay here."
Batch, a Steel Valley graduate, would love to play more than just a couple years. He will turn 34 in December and thinks he could keep playing until he's 40.
"As long as my body holds up," Batch said. "I am in (my) 11th season and my body is feeling good. So can I play another 3-5 years? I think so. As we go along, each year has to be evaluated."
It appears that the Steelers would be interested in re-signing Batch after the season.
Batch has a thriving foundation in the Steel Valley community called Best of the Batch.
His Project C.H.U.C.K. youth basketball league is finishing its seventh season his hometown of Homestead, with great participation. The league has grown to more than 280 kids.
Plus, Batch has been a fairly successful mentor and backup to the franchise quarterback Roethlisberger.
He has been so successful when he has had to fill in for Roethlisberger that fans clamored for Batch to start two years ago when Roethlisberger struggled throughout the season.
At the time it was a popular notion to say that Batch could start for at least a half dozen teams around the NFL.
"At the time that my contract was presented, those options weren't there," Batch said. "It seems like when those options were there I was already under contract. There is not much to do about the situation