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Leftwich prepared -- just in case

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

TAMPA, Fla. -- According to Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, you just never know.

"Anybody on this team that's on the 53- or on the 47- [man roster] can be the Super Bowl MVP," Leftwich said Wednesday. "Just think about it. To be honest, anybody can be [MVP] and who knows who that person is going to be?"

Leftwich would be a long shot as a backup. But with Ben Roethlisberger's numerous ailments and penchant for getting hit, Leftwich realizes he's just one play away from the biggest game of his life.

All year, Pittsburgh's veteran backup has stayed ready and performed well in brief stints. He has thrown for 303 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in five relief appearances. His quarterback rating is 104.3.

Leftwich was all smiles Wednesday in Tampa as he basked in the glow of making it to his first Super Bowl and being able to resurrect his career after two tough seasons.

"If I was the starter of this team I wouldn't be no happier than I am right now, and that's what people don't realize," Leftwich said. "You don't have to be the main guy to enjoy this and to really appreciate being in a Super Bowl. It's the same happiness and the same joyful feeling no matter who you are on this football team, because it takes 53 people to make it this far."

Leftwich had an ugly experience in nearby Jacksonville where he'd fallen out of favor with the Jaguars' coaching staff and eventually lost his job to David Garrard. In 2007, Leftwich signed with the Atlanta Falcons and played the worst football of his career.

After being passed over in last year's free agency period, Pittsburgh gave Leftwich a call after Charlie Batch broke his collarbone. Leftwich fit well with Pittsburgh this year as a backup.

"I never lost confidence in myself," Leftwich said. "I just think for the first time in a long time, I'm healthy. And I'm able to show people who doubted me because I was injured that I can still play this game."

Leftwich, 29, will be a free agent after the Super Bowl and wouldn't elaborate on his future. But the general speculation is that he will test the market to see if he can earn a starting job elsewhere.

"I'm going to take it all in," Leftwich said. "I'm going to enjoy myself and what happens, happens. I was the guy who always believe that I would win a Super Bowl in Jacksonville. That's not going to happen because I'm not going back there. So you never know in this league."