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Charlie Batch Is 100% Convinced There Will Be A Lockout In

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No, we’re not seeing what Charlie Batch has to say because of what he might bring to table on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. Even though Ben Roethlisberger is suspended to start the year, Batch will be behind both Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich on the depth chart during training camp, the preseason and the first four to six weeks of the year. Instead, we’re interested in hearing what Batch has to say about the chances of a work stoppage in 2011. According to Batch, an active and important figure in the NFLPA and the Steelers Player Rep – those chances are likely. Very likely. Batch joined WQYX in Tampa to talk about the competition at training camp going on between him and Leftwich and Dixon, how he rates his chances to see the field much in 2010 (not likely according to him), how he thinks Dennis Dixon will make a name for himself either in Pittsburgh or elsewhere at some point in his career, his thoughts on Mike Tomlin, how he thinks there’s a 100 percent chance that there will be a lockout next year, how he wants to emphasize that it will be the owners’ fault not the result of greed from players, and how a lockout would have a trickle down effect on many other people and areas of the economy.

On how the competition is going between him, Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich:

“It’s going well. Obviously it’s a different situation that we have to get ready for, because you’re going into training camp with three guys competing for basically four to six games early in the season knowing that Ben is going to start when he gets back from the suspension. So it’s a tricky situation, and I think that everybody is just trying to make the most of it as we head into training camp.”

On what he thinks of his chances at this point to earn playing time as the quarterback of the Steelers:

“Well I mean right now you really don’t know. One thing that they’re trying to do..I mean, Dennis Dixon is a great talent and I think he showed that in the game that he played last year against Baltimore on Sunday. So I think at some point they’re going to try to get him ready as much as possible because he is the future. Granted, I’m not going to be play for a number of more years down the line. Byron of course, he’s starting to get up there in years as well. So Dennis is the next up and coming, and I think the way that everything has gone, they want to give Dennis as many repetitions in training camp as possible, just to see what you have. Whether that was a one-game wonder, or if he’s capable of carrying the load throughout the long haul of the season. And I think watching him as he really progressed over the last couple of years, he’s really going to be a talent – whether that’s with Pittsburgh or some other team, you will hear Dennis Dixon’s name a lot more in the future.”

On the pending labor strife in the NFL and where things stand in terms of hammering out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the start of the 2011 season:

“Honestly I think it’s the owners have to open up the books and give us a reason to say ‘hey you need to take a pay cut as far as percentage of total revenue. They’re just saying take a pay cut and trust our decision. And well, we’re like give us a reason and I think players will understand that on the other side. But until that happens, it’s not going to happen and we’re not going to get anywhere. I think I’ve been talking about this over the last year and a half. Last year I went down to the rookie symposium and warned the rookies of what was happening, because I am sitting in there with those discussions. So I am hearing first hand as far as what’s going on. I just think it’s a matter of the owners understanding really the revenue sharing aspect of it and them coming to an agreement first. They don’t understand that, and because they don’t understand it, they’re trying to put the blame on the players as trying to be greedy, and that’s not necessarily the case.”

On what he would put the chances of there being a strike or lockout in 2011:

“Well one thing for sure, you can’t say a holdout on the players’ side because we’re not striking over labor negotiations; we’re okay with everything, so labor is not an issue with us as far as where we stand from there. But from the owners’ standpoint, you have to put it at 100 percent. I said it over a year ago heading into training camp. People called me crazy for making those statements but it was the truth. And I think here we are sitting here less than a year from a possible lockout from the owners’ side, the fans have to understand that this isn’t the players doing this. This can be a trickle down effect from the owners meaning no games, no stadium revenues, meaning people who are employed at the stadium – you’re talking about over 100,000 stadium workers that will get laid off because there will be no season played. And then ultimately bar and restaurant owners, vendors, hot dog vendors who may possibly lose out because there are no games on Sunday. I can only imagine. I know what it’s like here in Pittsburgh on Sundays, so now I can only imagine over the course of 31 other NFL cities, there’s going to be a trickle down effect for business owners as losing money.  And I think it’s a reality that these people need to start thinking about what they’re going to do if there is no season in the 2011 season. So it’s just really, really frustrating for a lot of people, and I think that everybody wants a deal, but make sure it’s a fair deal for both sides. Just make sure it gets done.  But just to make myself clear – this is not a strike by the players; we’re not fighting over labor issues. This is an actual lockout coming from the owners locking out the players that can ultimately have a trickle down effect on everybody.”

On watching the development of head coach Mike Tomlin, who just yesterday was awarded with a three-year contract extension:

“Oh it’s been great. Coming in, of course looking back you had Coach Cowher that was here; everybody loved Coach Cowher. Anytime you go through a coaching change like that, we the players wanted in house. We wanted Russ Grimm, we wanted Ken Whisehunt to take over the job. But as the Rooneys went over those discussions, when they ultimately went with their decision to go for Coach Tomlin, from the players’ side, we said if Mr. Rooney made this decision, we’re going with it because they felt that Coach Tomlin was the best guy for the job regardless of race, color, it doesn’t matter. They knew he was the best guy for the job and ultimately it paid off with him winning a Super Bowl in his second year. So when I saw him come into the room for the first meeting, the respect that he commanded as he walked into that room, being able to get his message across, that came instantly. And I think a lot of people understood that and respected him from day one as it related to him trying to take over this team. And it’s just one of those things from a Pittsburgh fan growing up here in Pittsburgh, being from Pittsburgh, I look at it and say we have the right the man for the job. And I don’t say that because I work for the man; I say that as a I sit back three to five years from now, sitting back on the couch watching the Stillers play knowing that the right man is there and knowing that I had a chance to work for him and knowing that he was the right man for the job and able to get the job done.”

Chip Kelly Goes On The Defensive

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