Friday, April 27, 2012
Leftwich should win Steelers' backup job
By Jamison Hensley
While most of the attention focused on the Steelers getting the best guard available (Stanford's David DeCastro), they quietly made an important addition even before the draft began. Pittsburgh agreed to terms on a one-year deal with quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Bringing back Charlie Batch less than two weeks ago was an insurance policy if the Steelers couldn't keep Leftwich. Now, Leftwich is the favorite to be the primary backup to Ben Roethlisberger, as long as he remains healthy. He has started 49 games and passed for 10,260 yards and 58 touchdowns.
Leftwich, 32, is five years younger than Batch, and is a more viable option to lead an offense if Roethlisberger went down for an extended period. The Steelers have always preferred Leftwich to Batch. Leftwich was supposed to start for the suspended Roethlisberger in 2010, but he hurt his knee in the final preseason game. He was also projected to be the team's No. 2 quarterback last season before breaking his arm in the preseason.
The Steelers now have five quarterbacks on the roster: Roethlisberger, Leftwich, Batch, former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, and Jerrod Johnson. Striking a deal with Leftwich decreases the chances of Pittsburgh drafting a quarterback in the later rounds.