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Old 08-16-2013, 03:35 AM   #1
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Default For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

The boomerang that was Bruce Gradkowski's under-30 NFL career reads like a US Airways flight schedule since it pulled its hub out of Pittsburgh:

Tampa to St. Louis to Cleveland to Oakland to Cincinnati. Finally, after five teams and seven years, his travels brought him back home at age 30.

"I think my time in the NFL has been special," said Gradkowski, a Dormont native who played at Seton-LaSalle High School. "I got to see a bunch of cities, live in different places, meet a lot of people, learn a lot of offenses. That's special stuff there. But, of course, it would be nice to be somewhere for a long period of time."

It would be nice to be the next Charlie Batch, who was a backup quarterback for his hometown Steelers the past 11 seasons. In that time, Batch was among the most popular players and had his own radio shows. The Steelers signed Gradkowski to take his place mainly because they wanted to get younger behind Ben Roethlisberger.

"Everyone loves Charlie Batch," Gradkowski said. "I'm not trying to come in and take anyone's place or be anyone else. Even my mom and them say, 'We love Charlie.

Charlie is a great guy, I asked him for advice in the past. He's a guy to lean on."

Batch also is only a phone call and a few miles away should anything such as injuries happen to Steelers quarterbacks. Gradkowski knows about them, too, because he feels they kept him from establishing himself as a starter rather than an NFL nomad.

He experienced two of those injuries after his best moment in the NFL. At Heinz Field Dec. 6, 2009, Gradkowski led the underdog Oakland Raiders to a huge upset of the reigning Super Bowl champs in front of many family and friends. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 308 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 121.8 passer rating. He led the Raiders on a 10-play, 88-yard drive in the final two minutes and tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy with nine seconds left for a 27-24 Oakland victory.

"It was a great night, probably my best game I've played so far," Gradkowski said. "I had my family there for it. It was cool. That was the year I really felt I was coming into my own and understanding football more and more in the NFL. That was a special night."

It was his third consecutive start in place of the ineffective JaMarcus Russell, and he was establishing something until it all ended the next game in Oakland against the Washington Redskins.

"After we beat the Steelers, the next week I tore both of my MCLs, I was out the rest of the year," Gradkowski said.

"That was tough. And the next year I separated my right shoulder."

He signed with Cincinnati as a free agent in 2011 and played briefly in four games over two seasons before signing a three-year contract with the Steelers this year.

That came a month after his younger brother, Gino, earned a Super Bowl ring as a backup rookie guard/center with the Baltimore Ravens. That should make those two Steelers-Ravens games a test of loyalties for the Gradkowski family (With Matt Birk's retirement, Gino is competing with former Steelers draft pick, A.Q. Shipley, a Moon native, to start at center for the Ravens).

"Now, it's my turn," Bruce said. "He has a ring already."

The Steelers, of course, hope Gradkowski does not play much once the preseason ends, unless he is mopping up for Roethlisberger in runaway victories. But Roethlisberger missed three games in 2012 with shoulder and rib injuries, missed one game and was hobbled in a few others by a sprained ankle in 2011 and has played just one full 16-game schedule.

Gradkowski is the next quarterback up.

"This league is all about perseverance," Gradkowski said. "You're going to have ups, you're going to have downs. It's how you persevere, handle it and push through it. I love this game, any way to be a part of it and help a team do it, I'll do that."


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2c7RwzO4P
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

See......
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

What the hell do we need another guy from WPA for? This is ridiculous! Those F'ing Rooney's are at it again.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

Charlie was hands down one of the classiest guys our franchise has ever had IMO. Sad to see Batch gone, love what he did for our team and the way he stepped up and played coming off of the bench. Can't say enough good things about Charlie. He's also an awesome human being that cares more about his fellow man, and animals than himself (if you follow him on Facebook).

That being said it was Charlie's time to retire and I'm extremely pleased that we were able to snag Gradkowski to fill the role. He's another one of those rare backup quarterbacks that can be asked to step in at any time and there won't be a huge drop off in production. He's tough, gritty, and selfless. I have full confidence in him if Ben goes down. No more worrying about Leftwich (who was like Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable) shattering every bone in his body. I think we've finally got ourselves a good quality, durable backup. I think we have decent 3rd QB and 4th QB options as well with Jones and Parker Wilson though it really remains to be seen just how good either one of them really truly are.

To be completely honest, Gradkowski is a guy that I think could be a starter for some teams.
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

Yup, another "He grew up in the area" story. Rooneys can't get enough of them. That's why he was brought in. Since they were losing one of their hometown guys (Batch) they had to go out and get another one. Hell, who keeps a 38-year-old as their top back up QB to begin with - one with a history of being fragile? Oh, wait, that's right, he was from the area so you keep him on for an inappropriate time. Quick: Name the Steeler greats who grew up in Pgh.
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

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Yup, another "He grew up in the area" story. Rooneys can't get enough of them. That's why he was brought in. Since they were losing one of their hometown guys (Batch) they had to go out and get another one. Hell, who keeps a 38-year-old as their top back up QB to begin with - one with a history of being fragile? Oh, wait, that's right, he was from the area so you keep him on for an inappropriate time. Quick: Name the Steeler greats who grew up in Pgh.
yeah they only signed batch because he was from PA. everyone knows any joe blow off the street can come off the bench and lead the team to a win over the ravens, no skill or talent is involved at all
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

I can't even tell if Pimp is just trolling us now. No one can keep regurgitating the same stupid thing over and over without trolling, right?
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

Those F'ing Rooneys need to start signing football players from South America
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

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yeah they only signed batch because he was from PA. everyone knows any joe blow off the street can come off the bench and lead the team to a win over the ravens, no skill or talent is involved at all
That is a classic straw man argument. i never asserted any of the above. And let's not get drunk: I loved Charlie's heart in the Ravens game and was moved by his play. But make no mistake: we won that game as a team. Charlie didn't do all that much, but did do enough to win. If that game was won due to Charlie's skill and talent, he'd still be on the roster, but he isn't. Why would they ditch a guy who was so talented that he beat the eventual world champs? Why would you dump a guy who was so responsible for that? Truth is, one reason he was still on the roster at that point because he was a Pgh native. But even that factor couldn't outweigh the fact that he could barely throw a ball 20 yards at that point.
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: For Steelers backup quarterback Gradkowski, it's good to be home

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That is a classic straw man argument. i never asserted any of the above. And let's not get drunk: I loved Charlie's heart in the Ravens game and was moved by his play. But make no mistake: we won that game as a team. Charlie didn't do all that much, but did do enough to win. If that game was won due to Charlie's skill and talent, he'd still be on the roster, but he isn't. Why would they ditch a guy who was so talented that he beat the eventual world champs? Why would you dump a guy who was so responsible for that? Truth is, one reason he was still on the roster at that point because he was a Pgh native. But even that factor couldn't outweigh the fact that he could barely throw a ball 20 yards at that point.
so other than gradkowski, who was the best available FA qb we could have taken on the cheap? i thought he was a good pickup and him being a hometown guy had nothing to do with it. batch was also a similar case when he was picked up long ago.

maybe the players themselves grew up as steeler fans, and feel more inclined to play for their favorite team, but i guarantee the management doesn't care about that.

btw i believe batch was our #3 quarterback, leftwich was the #2 before he got hurt, so it's not like we started the season with charlie as the main backup. he was never intended to play unless shit really hit the fan with our qb situation (which it did)
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