The Steelers signed Gradkowski during the free agency period in 2013 to a three-year deal. Gradkowski was a sixth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Toledo. He bounced around from team to team with stints in St. Louis, Cleveland, Oakland and Cincinnati before the Steelers signed him.
Gradkowski is a hometown guy having gone to high school in Pittsburgh’s Seton-La Salle Catholic High School. He’s always been a fan-favorite but has rarely seen regular-season action as Ben Roethlisberger played the majority of the snaps in 2013 and 2014 and Gradkowski spent the majority of 2015 on injured reserve.
He celebrated his 33rd birthday on January 27th and he just might be at the point in his career where his injuries are too much to overcome. If the Steelers don’t have confidence that he can stay healthy then there’s no reason to bring him back.
He’d be relatively cheap to sign to a one or two-year deal and surely knows the offense well but as much as you can’t plan for everything you have to have some confidence that your backups can stay healthy to be able to be called upon when needed. Gradkowski might just go the way of Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.
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