The Bengals got the backup quarterback they wanted, agreeing in principle Wednesday with former Oakland Raider Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski brings with him at least a tangential knowledge of the Bengals new offense, having played under Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay.
By signing with Cincinnati, Gradkowski returns to play in the Buckeye state. A product of the University of Toledo, he was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft in 2006 by Tampa Bay. He started 13 games for Tampa his rookie season, including a victory over the Bengals in which he threw a late touchdown pass to give the Bucs the win. After Gruden left Tampa, Gradkowski spent a season in Cleveland, playing in only two games and throwing for 26 yards. The past two seasons have seen him taking over as Oakland's starter in the wake of Demarcus Russell's struggles. He once again beat the Bengals on a last second touchdown pass in 2009. For his career, Gradkowski has a quarterback rating of 65.9 with 20 touchdowns to 23 interceptions. In 20 NFL starts, Gradkowski amassed a 6-14 record.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden called Gradkowski "tough and smart" and said he knows the system well. That will be helpful given the compressed learning curve of this training camp and what looks to be a rookie starter in Andy Dalton.
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