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Steelers notebook: Leftwich OK with 'doing things differently'

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 5:22 p.m.
Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich has been maligned for his long windup before throwing a pass, but he says it's not an issue. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
ASSOCIATED PRESS
This is a 2012 photo of Byron Leftwich of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL football team. This image reflects the Pittsburgh Steelers active roster as of Tuesday, May 29, 2012 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

A big windup and delivery are fine in Major League Baseball. In the NFL? Not so good.

The extra half-second or so it takes for a quarterback with an extended delivery to get the arm forward can be just enough time for a cornerback to close on a previously open receiver, or for a pass rusher to arrive and disrupt a throw. It's the malady that turned off so many pro scouts who watched Tim Tebow.

Byron Leftwich is hearing more of that he-takes-too-long-to-throw talk as he replaces injured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. But he never felt it was necessary to change the way he throws — hard and long.

“I'm a D.C. kid, an inner city kid, and I grew up throwing rocks and anything else I could throw,” he said. “I throw the way I throw. Yeah, I've got a long windup. We all do things differently, but the key is, can we get out there and get the job done? I can still play a little bit.”

He also doesn't run like Roethlisberger.

“You don't have to be fast,” Leftwich said. “If you did, we couldn't call the Tom Bradys, the Eli Mannings of the world elite. I've got to be faster than Eli, I know that.”

Mistaken identity

Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu. The Ravens-Steelers game will be missing some familiar names and, perhaps because of it, some of its character. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin isn't worried the game will lose some of its identity.

“The names and the faces inside the helmet are going to change,” Tomlin said. “That's the nature of professional football. But the spirit within the men, the history of this game and the fact that both teams remain competitive will always make this rivalry what it is.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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