The Steelers surprised (and displeased) the pundits by drafting quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Beyond the surprise behind the Steelers using a 4th round pick on a quarterback, Landry Jones arrival likely means something else: Charlie Batch’s days as a Pittsburgh Steeler are over.
The Steelers have already signed Bruce Gradkowski to a two year contract and, while they were expected to take a quarterback in the draft, they had also held out the possibility that Charlie Batch might return to back up Ben Roethlisberger for a final season.
- Bruce Gradkowski’s not going anywhere, and the Steelers have shown more patience with drafted quarterbacks.
Since arriving in 2000, Kevin Colbert has drafted Tee Martin in 2000, Brian St. Pierre in 2003, Omar Jacobs in 2006, and Dennis Dixon in 2008. Of those four 5th round picks, only Omar Jacobs got cut in training camp.
Given that Landry Jones was a 4th round pick, his lease on an roster spot has got to be considerably longer, than his predecessors who arrived in Latrobe as 5th rounders. (Although during Kevin Colbert’s tenure the Steelers have cut 4th round picks, namely wide receiver Danny Farmer in 2000 and wide Fred Gibson in 2005.)
Although many things can change, heavens know the Steelers have had their share of training camp quarterback injuries, the odds have greatly increased that Charlie Batch has played his final game for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No official word on Charlie Batch’s status has been released by the Steelers, although in his post-draft press conference Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner all but acknowledged that Batch’s days were done:
We have had great experience in that room with Charlie and Byron. I just think it was time to start grooming a new player, freshen up the room if you will.
For his own part, Batch at least appeared to be trying to forestall the inevitable, tweeting:
Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds waterSwedish proverb
— Charlie Batch (@CharlieBatch16) April 28, 2013
However, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook, Batch seemed to accept that the end was at hand, as he told Cook who observed:
But Batch won’t survive the drafting of Jones. He said he’s not bitter but rather thankful to the Rooneys and to general manager Kevin Colbert for giving him a chance “to live out my dream … I’m the only guy born and raised in Pittsburgh who played for the Steelers and won two Super Bowls.”
Charlie Batch truly is a home town boy who made good. While he speculated that the Steelers were intent on grooming Landry Jones as Roethlisberger’s replacement, he affirmed that he’ll stay in Pittsburgh dedicated to his foundation. (Batch’s prediction about Landry being selected to replace Ben has been discounted)
Indeed, Batch went so far as to tell Cook, “I want to be remembered more for what I’m doing off the field than what I did on it.”
- What better statement of a man’s character is there?
The truth is that Batch accomplished both a lot on and off the field in Pittsburgh.
No official word has come out that Batch’s days as a Pittsburgh Steelers are over, but when that word does arrive, Steel Curtain Rising will give his legacy its appropriate adieu.
Until then, we’ll simply say, on behalf of Steelers Nation, “Thank you Charlie, for a job well done.”