The starting center for the Baltimore Ravens this season likely will come from Steelers country.
The Ravens traded a 2014 conditional draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts for backup center A.Q. Shipley. With Matt Birk retired, Baltimore will likely go with Shipley or Gino Gradkowski, both of whom are Pittsburgh natives. Ryan Jensen, a rookie sixth-round pick from Colorado State University-Pueblo, will also be in the mix.
Gradkowski still has to be considered the favorite. The Ravens groomed Gradkowski all last season after he was selected in the fourth round. Shipley provides more experience, but not by much. A seventh-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2009, he was on the practice squads of the Steelers, Eagles and Colts before making an active roster last season. He started five games for Indianapolis last season.
Shipley's connection with the Ravens is new run game coordinator Juan Castillo, who was the Eagles' offensive line coach in 2010 when Shipley was there.