Steelers Sign WR Plaxico Burress

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Batch lacks Roethlisberger's mobility or Leftwich's big-time arm, but his quick release should fit in well with offensive coordinator Todd Haley's short passing game. Tomlin doesn't expect Haley to give the playbook an overhaul to accommodate Batch.

"The changes will be subtle and they will be made with an emphasis geared toward maximizing his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses," Tomlin said. "We've got a great deal of confidence in Charlie."

Maybe it's because Batch — and the Steelers — have been here before.

When Roethlisberger was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the league's personal conduct policy, Batch stepped in and led Pittsburgh to a pair of victories after original substitute Dennis Dixon went down with a knee injury. He did the same last year against the Rams after Roethlisberger opted to rest a busted ankle.

"One thing I can say about this quarterback situation is, as uncomfortable as it may be, it's not something we're foreign too," Tomlin said. "(The backups) do a great job of rallying and answering the bell."

It's something the Steelers believe Burress can do. If Brown can't play, Burress' workload could be pretty heavy for a guy who hasn't seen a live snap since New Year's Day. The Steelers only have three healthy receivers on the roster in Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and little-used David Gilreath.

Pittsburgh's passing game has thrived under Haley this season, with Roethlisberger on pace for career-highs in attempts, completions, completion percentage and touchdowns before going down. The only thing the Steelers lack is a receiver who presents a mismatch in the red zone, a role Burress can fill nicely.

Batch and Burress aren't the only familiar faces who could return this weekend.

Safety Troy Polamalu — out since Oct. 4 with a right calf injury — will run on Wednesday and Tomlin did not immediately rule him out. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who is rehabbing from ligament damage to his ankle, has been cleared for individual work though it's uncertain when he will be cleared to practice.

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NOTES: To make room for Burress and Hoyer, the Steelers released DB Marshall McFadden and RB Baron Batch .Tomlin said he doesn't believe the injuries to Cotchery or Leftwich are season ending, adding he believes Leftwich fractured the ribs while getting sacked in the second half against the Ravens. RB Isaac Redman, who left the Ravens game with a concussion, has responded well to testing and is expected to practice this week.

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