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Bruce Gradkowski returns to Steelers, but door still open for Landry Jones

Bruce Gradkowski’s reunion with the Pittsburgh Steelers provides valuable experience and a familiar locker-room face but doesn't preclude Landry Jones from winning the No. 2 quarterback job behind Ben Roethlisberger.

In fact, it might enhance Jones' chances.

The Steelers, who are signing Gradkowski to a one-year deal according to a source, have invested a lot of time in Jones over the last three years. If he was totally out of the picture by now, the Steelers could have pushed aggressively for Brian Hoyer or picked a quarterback in the first three rounds of the draft.

The Steelers find comfort in Gradkowski, who can run Todd Haley's offense and has a good rapport with Roethlisberger. Gradkowski, 33, missed all of last season with finger and shoulder injuries, but his recent workout for the Steelers was satisfactory.

Still, the Gradkowski-Jones dynamic feels different this time. Last offseason, Jones hadn't earned much trust yet. After a heavy preseason workload and 55 throws in regular season relief -- including 9.3 yards per attempt and two second-half touchdown throws to beat Arizona -- Jones has more clout in Steelers headquarters.

Either way, the Steelers now have two quarterbacks who can help if Big Ben goes down.