Even though former NFL quarterback Charlie Batch has been out of football since the 2012 season ended he still has a very good pulse on what happens with his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Batch, who now covers the Steelers during the season for KDKA-TV, was asked to weigh-in on the current situation between the organization and wide receiver Antonio Brown during an interview with 93.7 The Fan while in Atlanta, GA ahead of Super Bowl LIII taking place.
Batch started off his thoughts on Brown and how he’s handled himself since going AWOL during the final; week of the 2018 regular season and how he’s seemingly been on social media wanting to get traded this offseason to the San Francisco 49ers.
“I think in this situation he just has to communicate with the organization and that’s something that really he hasn’t done yet,” Batch said. “If he does that, he’s in Pittsburgh. But to force your way out and try to do it in a manner that he’s doing, he has to tread lightly. Tread lightly because you don’t control the destination point. Just because you want to go to one place doesn’t mean you’re going to get there. So, those are the type of things that I don’t know kind of what he’s going through in that particular situation or why he’s doing it. But just also know that, hey, we don’t know how great you’ll be without Ben Roethlisberger because no other quarterback has thrown you a touchdown pass besides him.”
Batch has a great point about how Brown should be careful what he wishes for as Roethlisberger is the only quarterback the wide receiver has plated with so far during his NFL career. Speaking of Roethlisberger, Batch also made it clear during his radio interview that in his opinion, the Steelers quarterback is getting far too much blame and that he;s being treated “unfairly” for what all has transpired recently with Brown.
“I know how hard he works at his craft and I know how hard he works at building relationships, Batch said in defense of Roethlisberger. “Now, you know as a quarterback there are more responsibilities on the team that you have are many so you cannot micromanage everybody on that particular team. That’s where I was able to help in that void. But as he grows as a leader, those type of things – I’m just listening, I’m just like, wow, are you kidding me, that he’s getting the blame for this? He’s the one out publicly trying to say, ‘hey, I want you.’ These are the types of things that are happening and people are just ignoring those type of things. But me knowing him personally, I know how he’s wired. He wants to win championships and he can be as selfish as he wants to be because the ultimate goal for him is to win another Super Bowl.”
Batch also went on to say that people dont realize how much Roethlisberger has protected Brown over the years when it comes to the wide receiver not always running the correct routes on plays and how often times he’s ad-libbed and how in doing so it’s worked out well for both players thanks to the report they have developed with each other.
“But Ben is doing his job, Ben is going about it the right way,” Batch said.
So how did things get to the way they are now between Brown, Roethlisberger and the Steelers organization? Batch thinks it’s a result of how the NFL has progressed and how teams aren’t able to keep a core group of older veterans together for a lengthy amount of time like the Steelers were able to do well over a decade ago. Batch also hinted that the coaching style of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has also suffered because of the lack of that veteran leadership no longer being prevalent.
“I think when you look at where the league is going, they’re trying to get younger,” Batch said. “They don’t have a lot of veteran guys that are in that locker room anymore like he [Tomlin] had in the past. You know, the days of keeping teams together for 10 years, it’s not going to happen anymore.”
Batch also added some other insight when it comes to veteran locker room leadership and how there now being less of it than there used to be in Pittsburgh has likely impacted things.
“It starts always with the leaders in your locker room and I think for me, and I’ve said it all year, I said, ‘Good teams, coaches hold players accountable. But on great teams, players hold players accountable.’ And that’s something that will always remain a constant for me, so those leaders have to be able to take control of the locker room and get them together,” Batch said.
So, does Batch believe Brown’s situation with the Steelers has now reached the point where it’s irreparable?
“I think the only person that can fix it at this point is Antonio Brown,” Batch said. “Antonio Brown has to man-up and he has to call, number one, your boss back – the guy who was writing your check, and say, ‘Here’s the position and here’s why I’m concerned and these are the issues that I have.’ Once you do that, then, yeah, everything else trickles down. But if there’s no communication and you get to the point of saying, ‘I want to leave,’ did you publicly say that yet? Does anybody know that? And you don’t control the destination point. Man, he just needs to tread lightly. It’s fifty-fifty for me and it’s hard for me to say he’s gone because he hasn’t had that conversation yet with management.”