In the 1980’s the middle of the Washington Redskins defense was anchored by a player named Neal Olkewicz. Olkewicz, an undrafted rookie free agent, lacked some of the “measurables,” and as a consequence Joe Gibbs and Bobby Bethard never tired of trying to replace him.
And year after year, Olkewicz beat back the challenges of the young turks, until he finally decided to hang it up 1989, having played for 11 years and started all but 13 of the 150 games he played in…
…Perhaps Charlie Batch is the Steelers’ Neal Olkewicz incarnate.
For several seasons running the Steelers have brought Batch to Latrobe with the thought that by the time camp broke, they’d be nudging him toward his “Life’s Work” in favor of younger, more durable successors such as Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon.
And every year one of those younger, “less fragile” players ends up getting hurt, and every year the Steelers turn again to Charlie Batch.
The pattern may be about to repeat itself here in 2012. In what has almost become an annual rite of spring, the Pittsburgh Steelers resigned backup quarterback Charlie Batch.
The move gives the Steelers a veteran presence behind Ben Roethlisberger who has started 5 games in Roehtlisberger’s absence in the last two years alone, going 4-1.
The move gives the Steelers 4 quaterbacks on their roster, including Troy Smith, a Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State, and Jerrod Johnson, a first-year pro from Texas A&M.
Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette confirms that the Steelers remain interested in resigning Byron Leftwich, who has also been wowed by the Colts.
If the Steelers do, that would create a bottle neck at quarterback. NFL teams do not enter camp with 5 quarterbacks on their roster and presumable one, of those signal callers would have to go before arriving at St. Vincents, with the other being eliminated during the team’s time at Latrobe.
Just don’t be so sure to assume that the odd man out will be Charlie Batch.