Batch keeps his focus


By Teresa Varley

Charlie Batch walked out on the field at Raymond James Stadium hours before Super Bowl XLIII, capturing every moment with his camcorder. It was a similar scene in the week leading up to the game in Tampa, with Batch catching every moment from the time the team left Pittsburgh, to media day and interview sessions and everything in between.

But there was something missing for him because all of the memories will be of his teammates as they prepared for the game, while he remained on the sidelines.

Batch suffered a broken shoulder in the preseason and was eventually placed on injured reserve. So instead of being the one in front of the camera, he spent much of the week behind it. While he had fun with the video, there are other things he would have rather been doing and it really hit him on Media Day and escalated as the week went on.

"It started with the team picture," said Batch. "I was in the opening day team photo and the Super Bowl team photo. Those were the only two times this season I put my uniform on. You put it on a little more special because of that. Media day and the game day I knew there was no way I could get into the game.

"Dealing with that was tough. You always want to be prepared ready to go in. And when you have no shot it's tough. Super Bowl Sunday was like any other Sunday when I couldn't play, but elevated 100 times more because this was the game you really want to get in. You aren't even in uniform. You are excited but sad at the same point. You are excited to be there, but sad you aren't able to play."

While some might have moped around, Batch took the same approach he did the entire season. It all started after he was placed on IR early on and head coach Mike Tomlin told him he would like to have him around during the season, taking part in the quarterback meetings and being at practice. It wasn't mandatory for Batch to be there, as often times players on IR come and go during the season, but it was something Batch felt was important.

"I planned on being here anyway. I didn't plan on being injured," said Batch. "I still wanted to do everything I do in a normal week, study the game plan and film. I still wanted to talk to Ben (Roethlisberger) the way I do during the week and games. That is why it was easier for me to be around. It is one thing to watch the game as a fan. I like to watch the game and understand why we are calling certain things."

Batch, who will become a free agent at midnight on Friday, wants to stay with the Steelers and has been working on getting back into shape as soon as he got the green light. He is throwing, increasing the distance, velocity and repetitions on a regular basis.

"I have to be ready to go," said Batch. "I am gearing myself to make sure I am ready for that. I am making sure I get the footwork back, making sure the timing with the arm and shoulder is in sync. There were two months of throwing I couldn't do. I am playing catch up."

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