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Steelers QB Batch has respect through work

Charlie Batch never knew there was such a thing as a 6 a.m. flight up until a couple months ago.

The Steelers' veteran backup quarterback quickly got familiar with early morning plane rides to New York City and Washington in his role as a member of the NFLPA's Executive Committee during the near five-month NFL labor strife.

Batch has been one of the 11 player-appointed top representatives made up of current and former players for the past four years, and worked tirelessly over the last five months alongside some of the most powerful businessmen in the world to ensure a fair deal to his fellow teammates.

The new collective bargaining agreement was finally ratified by the players Thursday, even though the Steelers were the one team that casted a no vote.

"He went through hell dealing with this stuff," 15-year veteran James Farrior said. "He had a lot of responsibility and a lot of stuff to do over that last five months. I know it was hard for him."

whether it was in New York City or Washington, Batch was front and center at every marathon meeting during the critical negotiations last month between the owners and players

"It was a busy, busy five months, let's put it that way," Batch said. "There were times that you were drained, and your body said enough is enough, and it shuts down on you. That happened a couple of times."

Batch is very involved with his Best of the Batch Foundation, especially during the summer, when he runs the largest program in his foundation, Project C.H.U.C.K, a six-week basketball league for youth in his hometown of Homestead.

The league took place during the crunch time of the labor negotiations in June and July. Still, Batch was able to be there for his foundation and even find time to attend some summer football camps held by some of his teammates, including Ryan Mundy on July 23, two days before the owners approved a new CBA.

"There were times that I had to split my time," Batch said. "I was here doing my camp, but I always want to support everybody else because the support they give me here in Pittsburgh. When it comes down to it, they understood that I had to leave, but it was tough trying please everybody."

Batch gained an interest in the financial and labor part of the game when he was in Detroit and wasn't able to participate in intellectual conversations about pension plans or even the CBA with his elder teammates.

"It caught my interest right away," Batch said.

Batch soon took on the unofficial role of player rep in Detroit behind Robert Porcher. He did the same when he came to the Steelers in 2002.

Batch was appointed Steelers players rep in '06. He then was nominated by teammate Ryan Clark two years later to be a part of the executive committee.

"You have 32 guys that have to vote for you and unanimously voted for me, from a respect factor, it means a lot," Batch said.

Farrior said: "We voted him that guy for a reason, and that's because we knew he could do the job. He has it in his blood."

So much so that teammate Willie Colon believes Batch would be a great NFLPA head in the future, a job currently held by DeMaurice Smith.

"To hear that, that means I am doing my job," Batch said. "I took my job very seriously."

Batch didn't rule out even more involvement with the NFLPA after his playing career is over.

"I'll see what happens down the line," Batch said. "Going through it gives you a different perspective. You are sitting across from the owners when you are going through this fight. It's not hearsay. You are right there and I was able to relay that to my teammates. I enjoyed that part of it."

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