Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has not set a timetable for his return from rib and shoulder injuries, but the Steelers had a solid backup ready to go in Byron Leftwich. In last week’s 13-10 loss to Baltimore, however, Fox News reports that Leftwich also suffered fractured ribs leaving the Steelers to turn to 37-year-old Charlie Batch to lead the offense against the Browns on Sunday.
Batch, who was a starter early in his career with Detroit, has been a backup quarterback for the Steelers for 10 years, signing in 2002 to backup Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. Batch has earned at least one start in five separate seasons with Pittsburgh and is 5-2 as a starter for the Steelers. Batch will be the Steelers third starting quarterback in as many weeks.
Leftwich took over against Kansas City two weeks ago after Big Ben went down with an injury. He completed 7 of 14 passes as Pittsburgh edged out the Chiefs 16-13 in overtime. Against Baltimore, Leftwich completed 18 of 39 passes for 201 yards with one interception and no touchdowns.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin revealed officially that Batch would get the start on Tuesday, but he hinted at it earlier.
“You know how it goes,” Tomlin told USA Today. “We’ll live to fight another day with who we have.”
Roethlisberger admitted last week that his rib injury is so serious that there is some concern the broken ribs could puncture his aorta. Because of that, he’s not expected back soon. With Leftwich on the shelf, Batch was the only remaining quarterback on the roster. The Steelers’ website reported that the team signed free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer to add some depth. Hoyer was a backup with New England the last three years and came into the league as an undrafted free agent.
There was no word on whether Hoyer would be competing with Batch going forward for a starting role if Leftwich cannot return the following week.