And until a month ago, Gradkowski was not even playing in the NFL.
That's how difficult things have gotten in Cleveland, where a miserable season cannot end soon enough and where a change in coaches and general manager are sure to come on Monday.
Gradkowski gets to lead an offense that has not scored a touchdown in five games. Since scoring 29 points in a Nov. 17 win in Buffalo, the offense has scored just eight field goals.
Gradkowski has thrown five passes this season, but he said all the usual things about being familiar enough with the offense to make it work.
Heading into the finale, the offense is not working, and it's tough to envision it working with a quarterback who spent the better part of the season hoping someone would call him.
--RB Jason Wright, who suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the Bengals, was placed on injured reserve. Wright finishes the year with 23 carries for 85 yards and 22 receptions for 156 yards.
--QB Bruce Gradkowski has a stronger arm than Ken Dorsey but faces a tough challenge playing on the road in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Steelers have only allowed one team to go over 300 yards this season, and even though the game means nothing in terms of playoff seeding, Pittsburgh will not want to see its nine-game winning streak over the Browns end.
--RB Jamal Lewis needs 92 yards to get 1,000 for the season. It might be tough for him to reach the milestone, as the Browns face the Steelers, who possess one of the best run defenses in the league.
--WR Braylon Edwards needs 128 yards to top 1,000 for the season. Reaching that figure will be a major challenge with the Browns using their fourth starting quarterback of the year.
--WR Donte Stallworth has just 16 catches this season. When the year started, that figured to be a two-game total for him. Consider this season a complete washout for him.
--NT Shaun Rogers is going to the Pro Bowl, but the run defense still stinks. The Browns are giving up 150 yards rushing per game, which ranks 29th in the league.
--DL Shaun Smith was not suspended last week even though he punched QB Brady Quinn following an argument in the weight room. Hard to imagine many teams not suspending a player who punches the franchise quarterback.
--LB Kamerion Wimbley has four sacks this season. His rookie year he had 11, last season five. Wimbley is starting to look more like a solid linebacker instead of a spectacular one.
--KR Josh Cribbs might get some more snaps at quarterback, but not a lot. And don't expect him to throw much. The coaching staff simply does not think he can handle it.
--RB Jerome Harrison will need a new coaching staff to showcase his abilities. This one simply does not intend to use him in any role other than as an occasional change-of-pace back.