Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gradkowski Thankful for His 10-Year Career

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gradkowski Thankful for His 10-Year Career

Article excerpt

Shoulder pain and fatigue forced backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to the physically unable to perform list for the first three weeks of training camp. That down time gave him the opportunity to reflect on his NFL journey.

"I'm very thankful to be playing this game, going into my 10th year," said Gradkowski, who grew up in Green Tree and Dormont. "I'm just trying to enjoy it. There is nothing like being out here with the guys and trying to get ready for the season. It's truly a blessing. I try to thank God every day. I never would have imagined I'd be going into my 10th year in the NFL. I just want to take advantage of that and have fun while I'm playing. Who knows how long I'll play? You have to take advantage of that."

Gradkowski has been eased back into practice the past two days. Coach Mike Tomlin has not announced the quarterback rotation for the third preseason game Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers, but Gradkowski has said his goal is to play in the fourth preseason game the following week at Buffalo.

Gradkowski said three weeks is plenty of time to get ready for the season.

"It's great to be on the practice field now," he said. "I don't think it'll take me long to get back into a rhythm with the receivers."

Follow the leader

Tomlin noted after the game Friday that third-round pick Sammie Coates has to get in better physical conditioning to take the next step in his development. Martavis Bryant, a fourth-round pick in 2014, went through similar growing pains as a rookie and eventually became an integral part of the offense in the second half of the 2014 season.

Coates has flashed his raw talents in camp and through the first two preseason games while he is trying to work himself into top shape. He has a team-leading six receptions for 64 yards. …

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