Quarterback Byron Leftwich said today that he has agreed to a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ending his one-year stay as a backup with the Steelers.
Leftwich, in a text message to the Post-Gazette, confirmed an ESPN-com report that he will join the Buccaneers. In doing so, he turned down a two-year contract offer from the Steelers for about minimum wage.
In Tampa, Leftwich will have a chance to compete for the starting job, something he would not have with the Steelers. The Bucs also have quarterback Luke McCown, Josh Johnson and Brian Griese with McCown listed as the starter.
The departure of Leftwich means that Charlie Batch is likely to return to the Steelers. Coach Mike Tomlin said he wanted to sign both veteran quarterbacks. Leftwich signed with the Steelers last August after Batch's clavicle was broken in a preseason game.
Besides starter Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers have one other quarterback under contract, Dennis Dixon, their fifth-round draft choice last year. Batch, 34, has been working out with the Steelers since the end of the season.
Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger in the second half of two games and the Steelers won both of them. He completed 21 of 36 passes for 303 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at email@example.com.