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Steelers Blog

Batch a finalist for Byron “Whizzer” White Award

Posted by Teresa Varley on January 23, 2013 – 4:02 pm

Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch is a finalist for the Byron “Whizzer” White Award, an honor given by the NFL Players Association to a player for their work in the community.

“It’s humbling,” said Batch. “To be a finalist for the highest award you can receive from the NFLPA is special. To be considered one of those guys is special.”

Batch started his Best of the Batch Foundation 12 years ago, serving those in the Pittsburgh area, including Homestead where he was raised. The foundation provides an array of services, from computer literacy programs to summer basketball leagues.

“I am blessed to play here for this organization and be this close to home, allowing me to be hands on with everything I am doing with the foundation and have people believe in me,” said Batch. “I can’t do this by myself. We go out there and try to change lives and when people see that, it’s even more humbling.”

Batch has been able to see the impact the foundation has had on kids and looks forward to continuing to develop and grow the foundation.

“A lot of kids started with us when they were seven or eight years old and we see kids graduating from high school and heading off to college,” said Batch. “When you see the kids growing up, and them getting the opportunity to go out and live their dreams, that is what we are all about. We want to have them reach beyond their expectations.”

Batch is one of five finalists along with Chad Greenway (Minnesota Vikings), Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears), Benjamin Watson (Cleveland Browns) and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys). All of the finalists will receive a donation to their charity and the winner, who will be announced by the NFLPA next week in New Orleans, will receive an additional $100,000 donation.


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Keisel didn’t have to look far for mentors

Posted by Teresa Varley on January 23, 2013 – 4:42 am

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Athletes are often looked upon as role models for young children, but in some cases the athletes that kids look up to, teammates do as well.

That has been the case for defensive end Brett Keisel. During his first 10 seasons he had the perfect role model and mentor in teammate Aaron Smith, and he still looks at Smith in the same light even after Smith retired last year.

“When I first got here he was someone I looked up to,” said Keisel. “He played the game the right way with pad level, technique. He wasn’t a dirty player. He was someone who was down to earth and came to work and worked his tail off every day.”

When hearing that Keisel viewed him as a mentor, Smith was taken aback. Smith always led by example, but he never tried to force his method of doing things on anyone.

“I am honored and a little shocked,” said Smith. “I always had a way of doing things and you always hope that someone catches on to doing things that way, what I would consider the right way. I think he has done that and expanded on it even more.

“That is something professional athletes should always hold on to. You don’t know whose life you will impact. I always just tried to lead by example. I always felt you would get more done by your actions than just by saying words. I am a big believer in that. It’s nothing I was looking to do, I just believed there was a way to conduct myself and be an example, especially for the younger guys.”

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Keisel is one of several Steelers who recently shared the story of who his mentor is with the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (MPSWPA) in celebration of January being National Mentoring Month. In addition to Aaron Smith, Keisel’s uncle, Ben Smith, who coached a rival football team also served as a mentor.

“He was someone who was always very encouraging to me,” said Keisel. “Every time we saw each other he helped me out with technique, with things off the field as far as being a good person and someone people could look up to. It meant a lot to me that even though we were rivals, he would help me out with the possibility that I could beat his team, which didn’t happen. He was a great man and someone as I grew up I truly appreciated.”

Keisel is grateful to both of his mentors, for his uncle for helping him along the way, and for Aaron Smith for providing an example that led to success with the Steelers.

“Since I got here I tried to be in his shadow,” said Keisel. “I tried to do everything he did. It’s got me 11 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, two Super Bowl rings, a Pro Bowl. I owe him a lot.”


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