Bruce Gradkowski steps in for remainder of Pittsburgh Steelers offseason workouts

Jared Wickerham

Veteran journeyman Bruce Gradkowski will take first team snaps the remainder of the Steelers’ offseason practices, replacing Ben Roethlisberger after he had minor knee surgery Wednesday.

The unexpected announcement of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger puts the Steelers in unfamiliar territory.

It's been quite a while since a quarterback not named Ben, Charlie (Batch) or Byron (Leftwich) have run through practice.

Bruce Gradkowski, a veteran journeyman QB and Pittsburgh native will take snaps for the Steelers through the conclusion of OTAs - which end Thursday - and in the Steelers' minicamp, scheduled June 11-13 in Pittsburgh.

Landry Jones, who has not yet signed a contract, will also be on hand, as will John Parker Wilson, who was signed this offseason.

Granted, Football in Shorts is not Football at M&T Bank Stadium, but getting a full compliment of reps within the offense will be good for Gradkowski - a sixth-round pick in 2006 who is now playing and has played with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Oakland and Cincinnati before signing with the Steelers this offseason.

Jones is expected to sit behind the veterans this season, and with Roethlisberger still likely to be at the team's mandatory minicamp June 11, can sponge off an inactive Roethlisberger.

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