Steelers, WR Burress reunite; Batch takes his turn as quarterback
A couple of bad injuries and one not-quite-good-enough game mean the Steelers' playoff hopes might be riding on a new quarterback, a familiar face at wide receiver and a very old quarterback.
Behind Door No. 3? None other than dependable old Charlie Batch, who turns 38 in a few weeks and is about to become the Steelers' third starting quarterback in as many games Sunday in Cleveland.
Just arriving, and in a limo no less? Plaxico Burress, who was last seen catching passes for Pittsburgh during Ben Roethlisberger's rookie season.
Waiting off stage? It's Brian Hoyer, seldom seen as Tom Brady's backup and, the Steelers (6-4) are hoping, also won't be seen soon as their new backup quarterback.
On one of the busiest off days for the Steelers in years, they signed Burress — their 2000 first-round draft choice — and Hoyer on Tuesday. They also cut running back Baron Batch and linebacker Marshall McFadden.
Roethlisberger also received a “very positive” medical update as he heals from his dislocated rib and SC joint injury, according to coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers apparently haven't given up hope that Roethlisberger might return for the Ravens' rematch Dec. 2.
Also ruled out for the suddenly important Browns game are wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and quarterback Byron Leftwich, both of whom fractured ribs during the pivotal 13-10 loss to the Ravens on Sunday night.
Burress enjoyed five productive seasons with the Steelers, signed a big-money deal with the Giants and helped lead them to a Super Bowl. Then, after shooting himself in the right thigh at a night club, he served 22 months in prison for violating New York's strict gun control law.
Burress returned to the NFL by catching 45 passes, eight for touchdowns, for the Jets last season. But, at 35, he couldn't land a contract for this season — until now.
NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes speculates it was because of Burress' outspoken nature and his history of trouble, which includes several suspensions and fines of $25,000 and $45,000.
“Nobody wanted that mouth and what it potentially means — popping off,” said Dukes, a longtime NFL lineman. “When you're at that stage of your career, teams will say, ‘He can help us, but we don't need that other stuff.' In this league, eight touchdowns are eight touchdowns, But teams don't need that distraction of what things not going his way could mean.
“Are you telling me the St. Louis Rams couldn't use him? You telling me the Jets, for crying out loud, they couldn't use him? ... Nobody's told me that point-blank on the record but off the record, there's that concern.”
With Antonio Brown (high- ankle sprain) and Cotchery hurting, the Steelers were down to three healthy wide receivers: Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and David Gilreath.
“He's in really good physical condition, based on the workout I just saw,” Tomlin said of Burress. “He's got very good body control for a big man.”
The 6-foot-5 Burress had 261 catches — 22 for touchdowns — in five Steelers seasons, then had 33 touchdown catches in four seasons with the Giants.
Despite Burress' troubles, Dukes said, “I think it's a great signing because one of my problems with the Steelers receiving corps; it's one of the best in the league, but their size bothers me. He gives you the ability for Ben when he comes back to do some things, put the ball up in the air, especially in the red zone.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PixController of Murrysville honored by Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania for camera trained on Pittsburgh eagle nest
- Rossi: Pirates must land Lester
- Fallowfield Township increases road crew
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- Antiques appraiser shares expertise with Mon Valley crowd
- Fire causes Blairsville bar to collapse, flames spread to neighboring building
- Joe Greene only 2nd player in Steelers history to get number retired
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’