Home is where the heart is for Gradkowski

PITTSBURGH -- Cool is the word Steelers backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski used to describe it, and that’s exactly what it is.

I mean, how many other NFL players will go from their Sunday games to their grandmother’s house for dinner as Gradkowski plans to do after the Steelers play the Titans at Heinz Field?

Eating spaghetti and meatballs with his parents and extended family, something Gradkowski did every Sunday while growing up in Pittsburgh, was one of the perks when the eighth-year veteran signed with the Steelers last March.

There is also the matter of Gradkowski suiting up for the team he cheered from the time he could grip a football through his record-setting days at Seton-LaSalle High in Pittsburgh.

Gradkowski has already had his share of moments that linked his past with the present.

Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake are two of his all-time favorite Steelers. The latter is the Steelers’ defensive backs coach while the former spent time with the Steelers in training camp and the preseason as a volunteer assistant coach.

“Growing up and being a fan [of the Steelers], it’s pretty neat to be a part of it now,” Gradkowski said. “Now it’s just football. I’ve been through the grind of camp, and I’m just excited for this regular season to put together a good year.”

Gradkowski said family members and friends have been respectful of the fact that he has a job to do -- as excited as they are that he is playing for the Steelers.

“A lot of family, they’ll get their own tickets,” Gradkowski said of the season opener. “We’ll have about 10 or so there. It won’t be too crazy.”

It may be at Sunday dinner, especially if the Steelers win.