Gradkowski in training camp, 2012
No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers
|Date of birth:January 27, 1983|
|Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|High school: Pittsburgh (PA) Seton-La Salle|
|NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 6 / Pick: 194|
|Debuted in 2006 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Bruce Raymond Gradkowski (born January 27, 1983) is an American Football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft after playing college football at Toledo.
Gradkowski is a 2001 graduate from Seton-La Salle Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and played as a member of the Seton-La Salle Rebels from 1997 to 2000 in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL). This is the same league that produced football legends such as Tony Dorsett (Hopewell High School), Dan Marino (Central Catholic High School), Bill Fralic (Penn Hills High School), Joe Montana (Ringgold High School), Joe Namath (Beaver Falls High School), and Johnny Unitas (St. Justin High School). As a junior, Gradkowski threw for 1,630 yards and 10 touchdowns. This performance was then improved as a senior, when he completed 188 out of 327 passes (a completion percentage of 57.5%) and threw for a then-WPIAL and PIAA (state) 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 7 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 3518 yards with 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He played in the GMAC Bowl and won MVP.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a great pre-season, and being nicknamed The Great Gradkowski, Bruce was named the starter in Week 5 against New Orleans. He had the best starting debut of all 2006 rookie quarterbacks by completing 20 out of 31 attempts for 225 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a 107.6 passer rating and a near upset of the New Orleans Saints.
He became the starting quarterback due to the ruptured spleen suffered by Chris Simms. After his first loss, he won two straight starts despite declining numbers versus Cincinnati and Philadelphia before losing to the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and the Carolina Panthers. After losing three in a row, he won on November 19, 2006, against the Washington Redskins posting a 104.9 passer rating - that game was the first start for Redskins' Quarterback Jason Campbell.
Then on Thanksgiving day, he lost to the Dallas Cowboys, throwing 2 interceptions. He lost his second in a row to his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing three interceptions. He lost another two starts to the Falcons and Bears, being pulled in both. 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 scoring 4 Touchdowns in the second half, whereas under Gradkowski the team had a streak of 10 scoreless quarters.
In 2007 against the Washington Redskins, Gradkowski came in after the first play because of a Jeff Garcia injury. However, he did not have a good game. 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 Rams
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 2 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 won 27-24 on a huge upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gradkowski completed 20 of 33 passes for 308 yards and 3 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. It was also a new record in the NFL, for the most come from behind touchdowns thrown in the 4th Quarter since 1991, when statistical records started to keep track of this.
On December 13, 2009, he was injured in a game against the Washington Redskins during the 2nd quarter and was replaced by the out of shape Russell. The Raiders lost the game 34-13 without Gradowski. Gradkowski missed the remainder of the 2009 season with a partially torn MCL 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 QB 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 quick-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.
- [dead link]
- Bruce Gradkowski to Start Finale for Browns v. Steelers SI.com, December 25, 2008
- Corman, Rebecca (2009-12-08). /cad17ffc-1e1a-419c-95c3-db2ef5d85f61 "Gradkowski Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week". Raiders.com. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- "Wilson: Gradkowski named AFC Player of the Week". National Football Post. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
- Bruce Gradkowski injured replaced by Russell espn.com, December 13, 2009
- Gradkowski likely to miss season espn.com, December 13, 2009
- Raiders Tender Bruce Gradkowski
- Bruce Gradkowski tears pectoral muscle
- "Jay Gruden: Bruce Gradkowski is "the ultimate competitor"". Stripehype.com.
- Profile at NFL.com
- Cleveland Browns bio
- Oakland Raiders bio
- St. Louis Rams bio
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers bio