Bruce Gradkowski signs Pittsburgh Steelers contract


The days of backing up Ben Roethlisberger with old-as-the-sea signal-callers has come to an end.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to a three-year contract with quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who spent the past two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers later confirmed they had signed Gradkowski, who's a Pittsburgh native, but didn't release terms.

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Gradkowski is no savior, but he looms as a better option than Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, the ancient quarterbacks (at a combined 71 years old) who toiled behind Big Ben in recent years. Gradkowski barely played in Cincinnati because of the emergence of Andy Dalton, but he was 3-5 in eight starts for the Oakland Raiders from 2009 to 2010.

It's a smart signing by Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger has been battered in recent years, and the Steelers need more security behind him. Besides, Gradkowski -- already 30 -- might not be the last quarterback added. General manager Kevin Colbert is on record saying the Steelers might look to the draft to add a young arm.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.