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Bruce Raymond Gradkowski (born January 27, 1983) is a former American football quarterback. He played college football at Toledo. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round (194th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. Gradkowski was also a member of the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers. His younger brother, Gino, is currently playing in the NFL.
Gradkowski in 2012
|No. 7, 8, 5|
|Born:||January 27, 1983|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school:||Seton-La Salle Catholic|
(Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
|NFL Draft:||2006 / Round: 6 / Pick: 194|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Gradkowski is a 2001 graduate from Seton-La Salle Catholic High School. He played as a member of the Seton-La Salle Rebels from 1997 to 2000 in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL). As a junior, Gradkowski threw for 1,630 yards and 10 touchdowns. This performance was then improved as a senior, when he completed 188-of-327 passes (57.5%) and threw for a then-WPIAL record of 2,978 yards and 30 touchdowns (surpassing the previous mark set by Marino). In high school, Gradkowski also played basketball, serving as Seton-La Salle's starting point guard and leading his team in scoring.
After redshirting as a freshman at Toledo in 2001, Gradkowski saw action only as the holder on the special teams unit. In 2003, he became the starting quarterback as a sophomore. He set a Mid-American Conference season record by completing 71.2% of his passes. He threw for 3,210 yards, with a school season record of 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions and a final passer rating of 161.53. He proved he could scramble by rushing for 504 yards and a score on 91 carries (5.5 avg). In 2004, Gradkowski passed for 3,518 yards with 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He played in the GMAC Bowl and won MVP.
|Ht||Wt||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 1 in
|4.61 s||1.63 s||2.72 s||4.16 s||7.12 s||34 in
|8 ft 11 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Tampa Bay BuccaneersEdit
After a promising preseason he was nicknamed "The Great Gradkowski". After starting quarterback Chris Simms suffered a ruptured spleen, Gradkowski was named the starter going into Week 5 against New Orleans. In his debut, he completed 20/31 attempts for 225 yards with two touchdowns as the Buccaneers suffered their fourth consecutive loss.
After his first loss, he won two straight starts against the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles before losing to the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and the Carolina Panthers. On November 19, 2006, he completed 14/21 attempts for 178 passing yards and two touchdowns while also throwing an interception, in a 20-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.
On Thanksgiving day, the Buccaneers would lose to the Dallas Cowboys, after Gradkowski threw two interceptions and only completed 10 passes. The following week, he continued to falter as he threw three interceptions in a loss to his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. His play would continue to decline as he would lose the next two games against the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears and was also benched in the middle of both games. In the second quarter in Chicago, he was pulled for good in favor of Tim Rattay. He would not start again in 2006 as Rattay led a comeback, accounting for four touchdowns in the second half, whereas under Gradkowski the team had a streak of 10 scoreless quarters. He finished his rookie season completing 177-of-328 pass attempts for 1,661 yards and nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.
In 2007, during a Week 12 matchup against the Washington Redskins, Gradkowski came in after the first play because of an injury to newly acquired starting quarterback Jeff Garcia. However, he would only complete 9-of-19 passes and didn't throw a single touchdown. The next week, Gradkowski was benched in favor of Luke McCown.
He had a record of 3-8 as a starter. Gradkowski set the record for throwing more passes in NFL history before suffering a second career interception, with 200 passes.
On May 30, 2008, Gradkowski was waived by the Buccaneers.
St. Louis RamsEdit
Gradkowski was signed by the Cleveland Browns as their fourth-string quarterback on December 2, 2008 after quarterback Derek Anderson was placed on injured reserve. He was the starter for the Browns' 2008 season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 28, 2008, after injuries to Anderson, Brady Quinn, and Ken Dorsey. Gradkowski was waived on February 9, 2009.
A day after being waived by the Browns, Gradkowski was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders.
On November 22, 2009, in his first start for the Raiders, Gradkowski threw two touchdowns, matching former Raiders quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell's total for the season to that point, and led the team to come from behind 20-17 victory over the heavily favored Cincinnati Bengals.
In Week 13, on the road the Raiders beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24. Gradkowski completed 20-of-33 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, including an 11-yard game-winning touchdown to Louis Murphy. For his performance in this game he was awarded the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for week 13 of the regular season.
On December 13, 2009, he was injured in a game against the Washington Redskins during the second quarter and was replaced by Russell. The Raiders lost the game 34-13 without Gradowski. Gradkowski missed the remainder of the 2009 season with a partially torn Medial collateral ligaments in both knees.
On March 15, 2010, he was re-signed by the Oakland Raiders for one year. He tore a pectoral muscle while lifting weights in April 2010. In Week 2 of the 2010 NFL season he took over for benched starter Jason Campbell and lead the Raiders to a victory over the St. Louis Rams.
On September 22, 2010, Gradkowski became the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback for Week 3. On November 28, 2010, Gradkowski suffered a third-degree separation of his throwing shoulder. On December 2, the Raiders placed Gradkowski on injured reserve, ending his 2010 season.
Following the 2011 NFL lockout, Gradkowski signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was the team's second-string quarterback behind Andy Dalton. After Dalton suffered a minor injury that removed him from the game, Gradkowski threw a touchdown while snapping the ball while the Browns were still in the huddle. He then appeared during a Week 13 match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing 3-of-6 passes for 17 yards with one interception.
On March 13, 2013, Gradkowski signed a three-year deal with his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ultimately, Gradkowski had very few career snaps with the Steelers. He played in none of the regular season games during 2013. In 2014, he played in one game. He missed almost the entire 2015 season due to hand and shoulder injuries.
The Steelers re-signed Gradkowski to a one-year contract on May 2, 2016. On August 31, 2016, Gradkowski was placed on the injured reserve list following damage to his hamstring sustained during the opening game of the preseason. The Steelers released Gradkowski on October 7, 2016.
In 2017, Gradkowski became a volunteer assistant quarterbacks coach at Anthony Wayne High School in Whitehouse, Ohio and also joined the University of Toledo's Rocket Football Radio Network as a color analyst.
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- Bergman, Jeremy. "Steelers claim Mettenberger, put Gradkowski on IR". NFL.com. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Briggs, David (August 11, 2017). "Bruce Gradkowski is back in school, and kids and coaches love it". post-gazette.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Bruce Gradkowski to Join Rocket Football Radio Network Team". utrockets.com. August 11, 2017. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)