PITTSBURGH — Charlie Batch, a longtime Steelers backup quarterback relegated to No. 4 status during the preseason, will start Sunday against the Bucs.
Coach Mike Tomlin picked Batch over Byron Leftwich, who is recovering from a sprained left knee ligament. Dennis Dixon started the first two games for the suspended Ben Roethlisberger but is out indefinitely after Wednesday's surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee.
"It feels good," Batch said Wednesday. "I never imagined it would turn out this way, but here we go."
Batch, 35, has been with the Steelers since 2002. But this will be his first start since a meaningless end-of-season game in 2007. Before that, he hadn't started since the 2006 opener, when Roethlisberger had an appendicitis. He threw only two passes last season and missed all of 2008 with a broken collarbone.
"He's been with the starters. He's been with the second team. He's been with the third team," receiver Hines Ward said. "He probably understands this offense better than anybody. We've just got to protect Charlie."
More qbs: Shaun Hill will start for the Lions for Matthew Stafford (right shoulder). … Bruce Gradkowski will start for the Raiders for the ineffective Jason Campbell. … Browns coach Eric Mangini said he is optimistic Jake Delhomme (right ankle) will start.
Standout receiver stays: Receiver Vincent Jackson, a Pro Bowl pick in 2009 who has two straight 1,000-yard seasons, was still a Charger as the deadline to be traded passed. So he must serve both of his three-game suspensions. Seeking a long-term deal, Jackson didn't sign his tender as a restricted free agent. He previously was suspended three games by the league for violating its substance-abuse policy. Then San Diego put him on the roster exempt list, meaning he'd miss three games even after signing. Under a deal between the league and union, Jackson could return in Week 5 if he was traded and signed a deal by Wednesday. Agent Neil Schwartz said multiple general managers, whom he declined to identify, told him the Chargers were asking for "wholly unreasonable" compensation.
Revis out: Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis won't play this week because of a strained left hamstring he aggravated Sunday.
Bengals: Corner Adam Jones sat out with a sore shoulder hurt while blocking on an interception return Sunday. His status hasn't been determined.
Browns: Receiver Brian Robiskie hurt his hamstring in warmups, and running back Jerome Harrison didn't practice with a thigh injury. Their status wasn't disclosed.
Chargers: Running back Ryan Mathews was diagnosed with a high right ankle sprain, and his status hasn't been determined.
Colts: Running back Joseph Addai (undisclosed knee), left tackle Charlie Johnson (sprained right foot) and linebackers Gary Brackett (back) and Clint Session (hamstring) sat out. Their status hasn't been determined.
Cowboys: Former USF corner Mike Jenkins (bruised knee), tight end Jason Witten (head) and receiver Dez Bryant (ribs) were limited but are expected to play Sunday.
Dolphins: Linebacker Channing Crowder, out since Aug. 17 with a groin injury, practiced. But the former Gator's status has not been determined.
Patriots: Running back Kevin Faulk is out for the season after tearing his right ACL on Sunday.
Rams: Defensive tackle Clifton Ryan, who sat out Sunday because of migraines, missed practice as the team awaited test results. Safety Craig Dahl, who Sunday sustained his second concussion in a year, also sat.
Seahawks: Linebacker Leroy Hill will miss several games with a right Achilles' injury.