It's official. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich won't be on the field Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that Ben Roethlisberger's backup has been ruled out with multiple rib fractures. Tomlin also ruled out receiver Jerricho Cotchery with the same injury.
Word on Leftwich comes as little surprise and the Steelers had already begun preparing 37-year-old Charlie Batch for the start, NFL.com's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported Monday, citing a source with direct knowledge of the team's plans.
Batch has the confidence of coaches, but the Steelers, as expected, are exploring all options.
The Steelers plan to sign quarterback Brian Hoyer, a source close to the player told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Tomlin had earlier confirmed the team worked out passers Mike Kafka and Hoyer, along with wideouts Plaxico Burress and Derrick Williams.
Tomlin listed Big Ben's status as doubtful for Cleveland, but that is generous. Roethlisberger won't face the Browns and the Steelers are planning for his absence to possibly stretch on well beyond Week 12. Tomlin and the Steelers are doing what they can to patch up that hole on an offense that remains a shell of what it was until their quarterback returns.
UPDATE: Both Hoyer and Plax are signed to deals as of this afternoon.