Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich loves playing for the Steelers. But nearly three years removed from the abrupt end to his career in Jacksonville, Leftwich had some strong words for the team that demoted and then cut him only days before the start of the 2007 regular season.
In fact, Leftwich sounded a lot like Jets coach Rex Ryan.
“The Jaguars really f–ked up that situation,” Leftwich recently told Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com. “We had a good
group of players and the team let them all go. They let us all go.
If they had been more patient, we could’ve done big things in
Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union took issue with Leftwich’s assessment.
“More patient?” Frenette writes. “Leftwich was given four years to prove he was a franchise
quarterback in Jacksonville. He had a 24-20 record as a starter and a
career quarterback rating of 80.5 with the Jaguars. That’s a
respectable, middle-of-the-road starting quarterback. That’s all.”
Leftwich also made it clear that he’s happy in Pittsburgh, where he remains on track, for now, to serve as the interim starter while Ben Roethlisberger serves a six-game suspension that likely will be reduced to four.
“This is the first place where you feel like family,” Leftwich said. “This is where
I want to spend the rest of my career. That’s what I mean by
football paradise. This is football paradise. There is no B.S.
here like other places. People tell you the truth here. They don’t
lie to you. I don’t ever want to leave.”
Of course, Leftwich left after the 2008 season, chasing a better financial offer from the Buccaneers. And before Leftwich gets too comfortable with his presumed role for 2010, he needs to be at least a little concerned that coach Mike Tomlin will send him to the bench a week or so before the season begins, just like Jags coach Jack Del Rio did three years ago.