Raiders To Start Gradkowski at QB

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Bruce Gradkowski starts this week for the Oakland Raiders.

    The day has arrived, Raiders fans, that $68 million quarterback JaMarcus Russell has been demoted and the gutsy. lower-paid backup is getting a shot at starting QB.

    So it kind of sucks that the Raiders cut the best gutsy, lower-paid backup in football from the team way back in September.

    The Raiders have officially decided they're starting journeyman backup Bruce Gradkowski from here on out, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The former Buccaneer and Brown with a career 58.7 rating gets the nod for this Sunday's blacked-out Raiders game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Gradkowski has been pretty much terrible in relieving Russell on three occasions this season, most recently tossing two interceptions in just nine attempts this past week in a loss to the Chiefs. Gradkowski was also quite terrible during his previous tenures in Tampa Bay and Cleveland, where he compiled a 4-13 record as a starter.

    But the "Any Given Sunday" rule applies to all NFL games, even Oakland Raiders games. The Bengals' Larry Johnson experiment may fail badly. The artist formerly known as Chad Johnson is overdue for a contentious sideline tantrum. And it's the Bengals, so one or all of them might get arrested prior to Sunday's game.

    If these or some other circumstances somehow result in a Raiders win Sunday, Bruce Gradkowski will have his first NFL win in nearly two years to the day. And he'll have already won half as many games as JaMarcus Russell this season, at only one-twentieth of JaMarcus' salary.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who insists that there isn't anything wrong with being arrested prior to Sunday's game.