By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:31 AM EDT
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PITTSBURGH — Charlie Batch knows his future with the Steelers is in limbo.
Due to a broken collarbone suffered in an Aug. 8 preseason game, three things can happen to the veteran quarterback.
One: He can be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.
Two: He can agree to an injury settlement and be cut.
Three: The Steelers can keep him on the active roster.
“Looking at those scenarios, anything is possible,” said Batch, who had a metal plate screwed to his collarbone during an operation last week.
“But there’s time before they have to make that decision. So those questions will be answered in a couple of weeks.”
Like all NFL teams, the Steelers must set their 53-man opening-day rosters by Aug. 30.
For now, Batch just hopes to heal as quickly as possible. Today, he begins the rehabilitation process. Typically, it takes four-to-six weeks for a broken collarbone to heal. But when a 33-year-old quarterback fractures the collarbone on his right throwing side, well, the recovery period could be longer.
“We’ll just have to wait until the bone heals,” said Batch, whose right arm is in sling. “I’m a quarterback, and I have to be able to throw the ball and get that flexibility back.”
Currently, the Steelers have five quarterbacks: starter Ben Roethlisberger; backup Byron Leftwich, who was signed after Batch was hurt; rookie Dennis Dixon, a fifth-round draft pick; Mike Potts, an undrafted rookie free agent; and Batch.
The Steelers will probably keep three: Roethlisberger, Leftwich and Dixon, who would likely be snatched away if placed on the practice squad.
But would the Steelers dare waste a roster spot for a few weeks early in the season as Batch heals? Probably not.
“Sure, there’s a threat,” Batch said, aware that Leftwich’s arrival could end his stay in Pittsburgh. “Any time you’re hurt, it’s a threat because another guy is taking your place. “I’m hurt, and they found a man to replace me. All I can do is worry about getting healthy.
Batch, a former WPIAL star who played at Steel Valley High School, prefers not to go on the IR. But for him, that would be better than getting cut.
“We’ll make that decision when we have to,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “There are a myriad of things that could happen between now and when we have to make that final roster cut. So it’s a pure waste of time to speculate