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Things looking up for Lions' QBs

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Things looking up for Lions' QBs

Things looking up for Lions' QBs

June 14, 2000

Batch, whose fractured right tibia was repaired late Monday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., is expected back in about three months.

"He could conceivably be ready for the first game," Lions coach Bobby Ross said Tuesday. "And I know that's what Charlie's thinking."

Ross also was encouraged by Andrews' report confirming that Batch had suffered no posterior cruciate ligament damage in his knee in the practice-field mishap that resulted in the injury a week ago.

"In my mind, it was good news," Ross said. "There was nothing worse, and you always have that feeling, that worry and that anxiety. So we look like we're OK in that right now."

Andrews reset the displaced fracture and inserted three screws to ensure that the bone heals properly.

The Lions hope Batch will be ready to begin working out in eight or nine weeks, and -- with a little luck -- he will be ready for the season opener Sept. 3 at New Orleans or shortly thereafter.

Until Batch returns, the Lions will depend on Case, Mike Tomczak and Steve Stenstrom. Case -- a five-year NFL veteran who started four games last season for the Ravens -- signed with the Lions last week and joined his new teammates Tuesday.

"I've been kind of living out of my suitcase for the last five months," said Case, 27. "I'm from Odessa, Texas, so I go back home a little bit, but I also played in Arizona for four years, so I've got friends in Arizona, L.A. and San Diego.

"I was just kind of making the circuit, traveling around, staying with friends, working out every day."

When the Lions called him, Case had just returned to Arizona after playing golf in the Kemper Open pro-am in Potomac, Md.

In rapid succession, he flew to Detroit to meet with the Lions, flew to Odessa for a 10-year high school class reunion and was back Tuesday at the Silverdome to begin the final week of voluntary workouts.

Although he is the last quarterback signed by the Lions, Case sees it as a much better situation than he was thrown into when he went to Baltimore late in training camp a year ago and wound up as temporary successor to Scott Mitchell.

"I was there three weeks, and I'm starting," Case said. "And then I was benched after the seventh week. I'd been there less than two months, and already I went from third to first, and back to second. I was still learning the offense when I was benched."

For the season, including his four starts, Case completed 77 of 170 passes for 988 yards and three touchdowns, with eight interceptions.

Although Tomczak is expected to fill the role as the Lions' No. 1 quarterback until Batch is back, Case said he is happy to get a chance to compete for an NFL job.

"If they said come in and compete for the third job, I'd give the same amount of effort as for the No. 1 job," he said. "Work ethic is one of my strong points, I think.

"I don't really care what the coaches have planned for me. My job is to come in here and do what it takes to be the No. 1 guy. If it happens, I'm not the No. 1 guy, so be it, as long as I give my 100 percent effort."

Case, who played in college at New Mexico, was the only quarterback the Lions worked out after Batch's injury.

Ross said he liked Case's athletic ability, his arm strength and the fact he has been virtually injury-free during his limited NFL career.

Image courtesy of Picturesnow.com

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