Gradkowski won't start in AFC West return

September, 15, 2011
9/15/11
7:00
PM ET
It doesn’t appear that Bruce Gradkowski will have an AFC West homecoming Sunday.

Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said Thursday that he expects rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to start at Denver on Sunday. Dalton left the opener against Cleveland with a wrist injury. Gradkowski spelled him and led the Bengals to a comeback win.

We’ve seen Gradkowski do that before. Gradkowski became a fan favorite in Oakland the past two seasons. Time and again, Gradkowski gave Oakland a boost as a backup. However, he had trouble bottling the same magic when he was a starter.

A favorite of former head coach Tom Cable, the Raiders choose not to pursue bringing back Gradkowski as a free agent this year. Still, he will have a place in Raiders’ history because of the spunk and fire he showed. In the AFC West, we all know if Dalton suffers a setback, Gradkowski will be ready to attack Denver with his spirited play.

In other AFC West developments Thursday:

In an Insider piece, here is hope for the Chiefs after their 34-point home loss to Buffalo in Week 1.

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reported that the appeal of the five-game suspension of Oakland rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor lasted 80 minutes Thursday. Schefter reported that the league is not expected to rule on the appeal any time soon. Pryor is already in the second week of the five-week suspension.

It has been reported that the Raiders are appealing that Sebastian Janikowski’s field goal at Denver was actually 64 yards and not the 63 yards with which he has been credited. That is important. Of course, because Janikowski now shares the record for the longest field goal in NFL history. However, I have checked with some folks who would know if the Raiders are making that push and they said it is not a big issue for the team and that the film shows that it was, indeed, from 63 yards.

Kansas City first-round pick Jon Baldwin didn’t practice Thursday again. He hasn’t practiced in four weeks since he hurt his thumb in a reported fight with teammate Thomas Jones. There is little chance he’ll play Sunday at Detroit.

ESPN Stats and Information looks at how New England’s Devin McCourty could affect San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers on Sunday.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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