The Caw: My Brother Is An NFL Quarterback

Ravens O-linemen Cecil Newton and Gino Gradkowski have big acts to follow.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, The Caw

John and Jim Harbaugh were in the spotlight last Thanksgiving. The three Jones brothers are getting major pub with Art competing for a starting spot, Jon as a UFC champion and Chandler a first-round pick.
But there are a couple other sibling rivalries involving the Ravens.

Ravens center Cecil Newton is the older brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. And rookie guard Gino Gradkowski is the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

Here’s Cecil and Gino’s take on being the brother of NFL quarterbacks:

Cecil is three years older than Cam, and the first thing that came to mind when talking to him was the downside of being the elder.

“If Cam did something wrong, I got in trouble for it,” Cecil said. “Cam was a terrible kid. Cam was torture. When dad came home and heard that Cam had broken anything in the house, it was my fault as the older brother. So Cam laughed and went about his business. I cried and got handled about it.”

Yikes. Cecil got a little lighter after that.

Interestingly, Cecil was the quarterback in their youth days and Cam was a defensive end and linebacker. The script was flipped when they reached high school.

“I grew out. Cam grew up,” Cecil said with a laugh.

Cecil converted to the offensive line and played college football at Tennessee State. He was undrafted in 2009, then picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens signed him to their practice squad last November, but Cecil has yet to play in a game and he’s currently fighting for a roster spot.

On the other hand, Cam won a national championship at Auburn, was the top overall draft choice in 2011 and the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s a national spokesman for Gatorade and Under Armour.

“I can’t help but be proud,” Cecil said. “I was the one that was putting him in the headlock. I was the one that was roughing him up, making him the guy he is that is tough and competitive. I like to take credit for that.”

The Gradkowski brothers seem to have a different dynamic, one of more idolization.  Gino is about six years younger than Bruce, and Gino grew up bragging about Bruce’s accomplishments.

But it hasn’t always been easy for Bruce, and Gino saw it all play out.

Gino was in middle school when Bruce got only one college scholarship offer from Toledo. He was in high school when Bruce was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In college, Gino saw his brother bounce between the Bucs, Browns, Raiders and Bengals all in six seasons.

“Just watching him overcome all the trials and tribulations he had to deal with, it made me a stronger person because I followed by example,” Gino said. “I saw how he handled everything on and off the field. He’s a great role model for me.”

Gino has minimal early bragging rights. He was drafted about 100 picks before Bruce. Other than that, the two will have to wait until Monday Night Football on Sept. 10 to settle the score.

“I know that he’s been in the league for coming up on seven years,” Gino said. “So I’ve got a long way to go before I can start bragging to him.”

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