High school notebook: Gradkowski brothers have rare NFL meeting
Bruce and Gino Gradkowski accomplished a feat Monday night that hadn't been done in decades. The Seton-La Salle graduates became the first brothers from the WPIAL to face one another in an NFL regular-season game since 1981.
It's believed the previous such matchup was when Rich Saul's Los Angeles Rams faced Ron Saul's Washington Redskins on Dec. 20, 1981. The Saul twins were from Butler.
Bruce Gradkowski, 29, the backup quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, played the final minutes of Monday's 44-13 loss to Baltimore. Gino, 23, is a rookie lineman for the Ravens.
“It was a dream come true being on the same field with big bro!” Gino (@GinoGrad56) wrote on Twitter.
The Sauls, who both were linemen, each played 12 seasons in the NFL (1970-81). They also had an older brother, Bill, who played linebacker in the league.
Other WPIAL brothers have played in the NFL simultaneously, but rarely have they met on the field. A year ago, Chartiers Valley brothers Raymond and Ross Ventrone were on NFL rosters, but Raymond and the Patriots didn't play Ross and the Browns.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame's list of NFL brothers includes several other tandems from the WPIAL. West Natrona's Ed Modzelewski was a Browns fullback between 1952-59. Dick Modzelewski, who attended Har-Brack with his brother, was a defensive tackle for the Redskins, Steelers, Colts and Browns from 1953-66. Their teams met annually in the 1950s. Freeport's Jeff and Greg Christy, Uniontown's Chuck Muncie and Nelson Munsey, and Brentwood's Scott and Keith Radecic also made the list. The Wisniewski brothers have Western Pennsylvania ties, but only Leo played for Fox Chapel. His brother, Steve, attended high school in Houston.
North Hills running back Tyler Reddick, who was carried from the field last Friday with a suspected neck injury, wasn't seriously hurt. The senior was evaluated and x-rays were negative, his father said. Reddick was injured during a 14-0 Quad North loss to Central Catholic. North Hills (1-1, 0-1) plays Shaler (0-2, 0-2) Friday.
Following a full week of practice at Imani Christian, junior Ron Brown scored four touchdowns last Friday night, including an 84-yard punt return. The performance matched the potential Woodland Hills coaches had seen in Brown (5-9, 185) before his late-August transfer to the private school.
“He's a Division I prospect,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “He'd have been a 1,000-yard rusher (at Woodland Hills). He's a big, strong kid. He's not tall — he's like (Ray) Graham, at Pitt — but he played all year as a sophomore.”
Brown transferred for family reasons, Novak said. But still the move was tough for the Wolverines. Among the Woodland Hills players back from last year, only Brown and junior Harry Randall had scored touchdowns in 2011.