LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — In 2009, Bruce Gradkowski broke the hearts of Steelers fans when he led the Oakland Raiders to a 27-24 victory, with 3 touchdown passes in the 4th quarter of the game. The same game that eventually kept Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers out of the playoffs.
Now just 4 years later, Gradkowski is learning Todd Haley’s offense and preparing to be the back up quarterback to Roethlisberger.
“Everyday I get more and more comfortable,” Gradkowski said. “And the more reps you get and the more time you get to spend with the guys, you just build that camaraderie.”
When Gradkowski was asked how Roethlisberger has been treating him, he laughed and said jokingly, Roethlisberger is mean and picks on him.
“Ben has been awesome, and to be out here competing with him and watching him compete every day it’s pretty cool,” Gradkowski said. “And just the respect I’ve had for him through the years and just his competitiveness and how he wins and wins championships, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Gradkowski, a Pittsburgh native and self-proclaimed Steelers fan, is part of his 5th team in seven seasons. He spent the last two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, backing up quarterback Andy Doltan, with only 4 appearances in 2 seasons.
But Gradkowski knows that injuries can happen to starting quarterbacks at anytime and he needs to be prepared if his name is called. He said he is working on taking control and command at training camp and getting more comfortable with the offense everyday.
“I know there are still times I feel myself thinking too much, where you just need to react and once I learn the offense even more and keep studying it and it will come even more,” Gradkowski said.
The first preseason game is 6 days away and although Gradkowski said it is hard to believe the season is about to start, he is excited to get the pads on and get under the lights.
“It’s good to get ready for a game, prepare your mind mentally to play in a football game and especially to hit someone else,” Gradkowski said. “I know our team and our guys are working hard hitting each other everyday, so the preseason game is exciting to finally get out there and play against someone else and see what all the work has gone into, and see how far you’ve come. ”
Listen to the full interview with Gradkowski here: