Charlie Batch Makes an Impact: Learn More, Do More

In a recent interview with Charlie Batch, he noted that although terms were met after the lock-out, there are still challenges to be faced moving forward, “We’re going to get the younger guys more involved. . . Guys have to make sure they don’t fall into that (mindset) of ‘labor peace.’”

Batch wants to make sure that young players in the league and players who will eventually be in the league, understand that they have to always be on their toes.  The challenge is to make sure that although there is “peace” now between the owners and players – somewhere down the line, there will be time to renegotiate and these younger players must be prepared to stand their ground at whatever cost.  To keep that in their heads.”

“You always remind them. Think about free agency, 20 years ago they didn’t have free agency. And three years ago, they locked us out. . . the business is football and I understand you want to lengthen your career but understand you should be preparing yourself as you transition away from the game. . . regardless of where you think you are, guess what? This is where we may be next year, so you got to make sure guys are prepared.”


For Charlie, being a “leader” was different for him.  He came from a veteran Steelers team and he backed up the team’s star in Ben Roethlisberger.  In Batch’s light, it seems more flattering to him than anything else that his peers would vote him to represent the team and the players: “You appreciate the fact that guys believe in you and they say ‘you know what – he’s out there for our best interest because he’s going to go out there and be a person who will voice his opinion and not stand down to anybody.”

Being a leader is nothing new for Batch though, he started a foundation “Best of the Batch” in 1999 and it was inspired by his sister, who was shot and killed in a crossfire of gang violence when she was 17 years old.  His foundation is centered on developing after school programs and scholarships as well as restoring playgrounds, offering sports as leisure activities.  His foundation started by helping out 125 children and that number has climbed up to 2300.

With the NFL draft coming up, Batch recalls how he just tried his best to get his name out there and for his name to be recognized amongst the fleet of college players coming out.  He did the workouts, participated in the all-star games – anything that would give him a better chance he did.  Since there weren’t a lot of players who came out of Eastern Michigan he had no one to learn from, he had to experience it all himself and as he puts it he needed to “keep the blinders on and keep on going.”

His advice to players who are entering the NFL draft is to not “worry about it, let it play itself out.”  Batch continued:  “However it unfolds, whether it’s a first round or a free agent all you can ask for is the opportunity. . .  as long as you don’t lose confidence and go out there and know you can perform well and don’t get caught up in anything else – go out there and make it happen.”

Charlie Batch has wrapped up his career in the NFL.  Although he was drafted in 1998 by the Detroit Lions, his home since 2002 has been at Heinz Field playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A look at Batch’s career is one that may be dubbed as a “career backup” but there’s more to Batch than that.  Most “career backups” float around year to year having to relocate themselves for a paycheck, but not him.  Charlie Batch was able to make himself a fixture in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room and a leader on the roster.  That leadership is what made Batch an NFL Player Association Executive Committee member.  The NFLPA protects the rights of the players in the NFL and helps to make sure terms of collective bargaining agreements are met.  The organizations purpose is one that never stops for they work for the players  — past and present.

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