Steelers Get Leftwich as Insurance Policy
Byron Leftwich, who backed up Roethlisberger during the Steelers' march to a Super Bowl title in 2008, was acquired from Tampa Bay for a seventh-round pick in this weekend's draft, according to reports.
The move leaves the Steelers with Roethlisberger, Leftwich, 35-year-old Charlie Batch and two-year pro Dennis Dixon on the team's QB depth chart. More importantly, Pittsburgh got an insurance policy for Roethlisberger, who is all but certain to be suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league's code of conduct policy following a second criminal investigation on sexual assault in less than two years. Authorities chose last week not to file charges against the two-time Super Bowl champion.
The trade also worked for the Bucs, who are committed to rebuilding a 3-13 team through the draft. They added a 12th pick to work with this weekend, which ties New England for the most of any team in the league.
Leftwich started the 2009 season as Tampa Bay's No. 1 quarterback, but lost the job after just three games and three defeats. He completed 54 percent of his passes for 594 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions and a 71.2 rating before being benched in favor of inexperienced second-year pro Josh Johnson. Four games (and losses) later, Johnson was replaced by rookie first-round pick Josh Freeman, who started the remaining nine games.
In '08, Leftwich appeared in five games (with no starts) for the Steelers, hitting 58 percent of his throws for 303 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a rating of 104.3. His highlight was relieving an injured Roethlisberger in a nationally televised Sunday night game at Washington, his hometown, and passing for a touchdown in a 23-6 beating of the Redskins.
Leftwich spent '07 in Atlanta and the four seasons before that with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made him the No. 7 overall pick in the '03 draft.